As your baby is growing up day by day in your womb, maintaining a good nutrients supply is crucial to help their development. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is one of these nutrients which is essential for the development of your baby. Therefore, it is recommended that you increase the supply for this nutrient during your pregnancy period. You may be wondering how DHA actually works and how you can increase the intake. Don’t worry, here is our guide for DHA in pregnancy.
The role of DHA in your pregnancy period
Docosahexaenoic Acid is an unsaturated fatty acid belonging to the Omega-3 group which is an essential part of cell membranes and is involved with a variety of processes in the body, including supporting the brain, heart and eye health. Research shows that DHA is a major component in the brain and eyes. It accounts for 20% of brain weight and nearly 60% in the retina. Therefore this is an essential nutrient needed for your baby’s brain development and vision. It is believed that this nutrient can also boost your baby’s immune system since they are fetus thereby preventing different kinds of allergies and illnesses when they are born. This acid also plays a role in stimulating red blood cells to provide oxygen to your baby so they can develop healthily.
Furthermore, DHA does not only benefit your baby but benefits your health. Different studies show that docosahexaenoic acid can help you reduce stress during pregnancy as well as reduce the risks of premature birth, preeclampsia, and postpartum depression.
Foods that contain Docosahexaenoic Acid
Although they may be found in different places of your body, DHA can not be produced by your body itself. As a result, you will have to take this nutrient from other sources. Different foods contain a rich amount of this acid that you can take during pregnancy. The most typical is seafood, especially fish. Salmon, carp, mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring, or shark are types of fish that contain high levels of this nutrient. However, this source is not popular among moms due to the high cost or to avoid the risk of mercury poisoning.
Docosahexaenoic acid is also found in sea algae such as Schizochytrium. Compared with fishes, these algae will not contain ocean toxins such as lead or mercury which can cause bad effects to both you and your baby. This nutrient is also quite abundant in nuts such as walnuts, macadamia, flax seeds, and almonds. Having nuts may be a good way to supply docosahexaenoic acid as you can use them as a snack anytime, anywhere. In addition. milk, eggs, chicken, are also good sources of DHA. For many reasons, it is not always possible to eat the foods that are rich in DHA. In this case, there are different supplements for pregnant women or prenatal DHA that can help you. There are 2 types of DHA supplements. DHA from fish oil and DHA derived from algae. Some multivitamins for pregnancy may contain docosahexaenoic acid as well
How much DHA you need during pregnancy
According to nutrition experts, pregnant women need to supplement at least 200-300mg of Docosahexaenoic Acid per day. However, If your diet is lacking in DHA, you should increase the amount.
When to take supplements
Since the first trimester, you may start taking different kinds of multivitamin supplements which contain DHA. However, unlike folic acid, you just need docosahexaenoic acid in small amounts as your baby’s brain is not yet developed. Your baby accumulates this acid throughout the pregnancy. Gradually increase the intake of this nutrient as your pregnancy progresses. In the last trimester, your baby will ramp up DHA absorption to ready for labor. This last minute demand may put you in a DHA deficiency status, which may lead to some serious complications. Therefore, you should increase the supplements for docosahexaenoic acid in this period to keep your baby and yourself strong
There you go, now you have our guide about DHA in Pregnancy. Although there are many DHA supplements that you can take, make sure you inform your doctors for advice before taking any of them. Do you have any questions? Please tell us in the comments!