Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Pregnancy: Benefits Sources And Types 

Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals are part of a proper and healthy diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna, but also shellfish, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Depending on their chemical structure, you can divide fats into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

The polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are considered valuable – above all, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Important of EPA and DHA for the mother and baby

Through the umbilical cord, the mother passes omega-3 fatty acids taken in with food directly to the unborn baby. Approximately 50-60 mg of DHA is delivered by the placenta to the unborn baby daily. 

So If you’re pregnant, you should regularly consume DHA and EPA to ensure that the omega-3 is sufficient for both the mother and the unborn child.  

DHA is vital and the most important of all the other fatty asides. Especially during and after the pregnancy. 

It is a building block for normal, healthy brain and eye development. As a baby grows in the womb, the brain develops faster than at any other time in life. The highest DHA levels are found in the metabolically active areas of the brain, such as the cerebral cortex, mitochondria, and synapses.

Here’s a detailed article about the importance of DHA and the best sources.

Because of these diverse tasks of EPA and DHA, it is not surprising that the omega-3 fatty acids are essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Recommendations for a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids For pregnant women

couple prignant happy becaus of the healthy baby

Although the supply of healthy omega-3 fatty acids has improved in recent years, it is still unsatisfactory, and most people don’t eat the recommended amount. 

Women eat an average of only 105 g of fish and fish products, crustaceans and shellfish per week, and men 133 g. As many as 16 percent of Germans eat no fish at all.

According to the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, pregnant women should consume At least 200 mg of DHA is advised daily in addition to the recommended intake of 250 mg of EPA/DHA.

Preferably, two fish meals per week, which corresponds to about 30g of fish per day. Of the two meals, at least one should consist of salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, or sardine – freshly prepared, frozen, or canned. 

In addition, fish oils and vegetable oils such as linseed, rapeseed, and walnut oil should be preferred because they contain vegetable omega-3 fatty acids. However, the direct supply of EPA and DHA from fish is much more effective than vegetable oil.

Bottom line:

The mother’s intake of the omega-3 fatty acid contributes to the healthy development of the eyes and brain in the unborn child and breastfed infants. For this purpose, 200 mg of DHA should be consumed daily in addition to the daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids recommended for adults.