The Importance Of Omega 3 During Pregnancy And Nursing

The EU (European Union) has recently recommended that women who are pregnant or nursing should take daily omega 3 DHA fatty acid supplements.
The EU committee of more than 50 nutritional experts from the Perinatal Lipid Nutrition Group (PeriLip) and Early Nutrition Programming (EARNEST) unanimously agreed pregnant and nursing mothers should supplement their diets with 200 mgs/day of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – a long chain omega 3 fatty acid found primarily in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tongol tuna/
The committees decision was based on two major points and has been supported by seven international scientific organizations, the two points are outlined below:
One – studies conducted by the committee revealed that most western mothers did not eat enough fatty fish; two servings are generally recommended in order to supply the bare minimum of omega 3 DHA for a healthy pregnancy. The committee found that the average DHA intake of pregnant and lactating women in the U.S was less than 18 % of the recommended daily amount and only 2 % of these women meet their daily needs of DHA. Of course, if you are not eating enough fish oil to sustain your daily dosage of DHA then your baby isn’t getting it either.
Two – Research studies have revealed that women who have a high dietary intake of omega 3 DHA have much healthier pregnancies and deliver babies that have higher birth weight as well as babies that are full term. Not only that, the research showed the benefits to extend beyond birth as well. Babies who received the recommended amounts of omega 3 fish oils, particularly DHA when in the womb have optimum brain and eye development and motor, thinking and language skills. There is also a decreased risk of these babies developing asthma, juvenile diabetes and ADD/ADHD later on in life.
Speaking for the committee, Professor Berthold Koletxco, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Munich, stated, “We reviewed a wealth of evidence on the benefits of DHA omega 3 and hope our findings will offer guidance for healthcare professionals on the optimum DHA omega 3 intake during pregnancy and nursing.”
Professor Koletzco went on to say, “We also hope that new and expectant mothers will be able to use this specific information to ensure that they are getting enough DHA omega 3 to gain the nutritional benefits throughout their pregnancy and during nursing.”
EU recommends getting the majority of your omega 3 fish oil from sources like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna as they have the richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids. It is also important to note that there are no negative side effects to consuming more than the recommended amount of 3 fish oil is 200 mgs/day of omega 3 DHA.
Experts also agree that in order to avoid any issues with fish toxicity as long as pregnant and nursing women and everyone else for that matter refrain from eating large predator fish such as shark and swordfish, two or three servings a week of one of the above fatty fish is perfectly safe. Actually, Harvard University School of Public Health study recently concluded that the benefits of fish oil far outweigh any threat of toxicity by as much as 500 to one. In other words, toxicity is not a threat.
Consequently, if you are pregnant, nursing or even considering getting pregnant and want a healthy pregnancy and baby you owe it to yourself to start eating more fatty fish and taking omega 3 fish oil supplements ASAP. You will be glad you did and your baby will thank you.