The Magic of Omega 3 for Pregnant Women
The health of the baby begins even before the child was born. To guarantee the proper development of the growing child inside the womb, the mother needs adequate nutrition which will especially support the developing biological systems of her baby.
There are many nutrients that the mother needs during her pregnancy. Among the most important ones are protein, iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D and Omega 3.
Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for ideal health in both mother and baby. These acids can mostly be found in fish. By consuming seafood, you consume the fish oil that contains a special kind of fat called Omega -3.
Study after study will tell us that adding fish in a pregnant woman’s diet is one smart move towards having a favorable development of the baby’s eyes and brain and better infant health outcomes.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health provided a result of a study that people who eat seafood (fish and shellfish) one to four times a week are less likely to die of heart disease than those who rarely or never eat seafood.
The Reason Behind It All
Omega -3 fatty acids that are found in fish comes in these forms: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These two not- easily- pronounced acids play important roles in brain function, metabolism, and normal growth and development. It also has an anti inflammatory properties. They lower blood fats called triglycerides and makes the heart healthy by slowing the plaque build up inside the blood vessels.
Appropriate levels of DHA found in fish are required for development and maintenance of the brain, eyes, immune system, heart, skin, cognition, behaviour, the nervous system and more. That is why many pregnant mothers make sure that there’s Omega 3 intake in their diet.
The last trimester of pregnancy is a particularly important period for the mother to be taking in adequate DHA. At this time, the baby’s brain grows by an astonishing 260%!
How much seafood is recommended for an adult to eat? It’s 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each week says the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. With that amount of seafood in your diet, it will provide you with healthy amounts of Omega 3.
Seafoods that are rich in Omega-3
1. Mackerel . Just 3 ounces of cooked mackerel contains 1.1 grams of this fatty acids.
2. Salmon - A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) slice of farmed salmon has 2.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Herring’s Omega-3 c content is 3,181 mg per fillet of raw Atlantic Herring.
4. Oysters - Six medium oysters contain 427 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Sardines - A 3.5 ounces of Sardine contains 1.4 grams of Omega 3.
6. Halibut is a mild white fish and a good altenative for those who don't like the strong flavor of most oily ocean fish.
7. Rainbow trout - A cooked serving of this white fish contains approximately 999 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Tuna - According to the American Heart Association, a canned tuna contains 0.17 to 0.24 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per 3-ounce serving.
Plant Based Foods that Contain Omega 3
For those who are not into fish and especially the vegans, they can opt to get their Omega acids in plant foods instead. A different type of omega-3, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), is found in certain plant oils.
Here are 7 of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids:
1. Chia Seeds
2. Brussels Sprouts
3. Algal Oil
4. Hemp Seed
6. Flaxseeds .
7. Perilla Oil
Dietary Supplements that Contain Omega 3s
Despite the many options for adding Omega 3 fatty acids for a healthy diet, others prefer to take dietary supplements. It can make up for the Omega 3 deficit in one’s diet. It’s remarkable to note that in the US, fish oil is the third most widely used supplement.
There is not just one type of dietary supplements that contain Omega 3s, there are several:
· Fish oil
· Krill oil
· Algal oils are a vegetarian source of DHA; some also contain EPA.
· Flaxseed oil contains ALA.
It is not recommended for pregnant mothers to take Fish liver oil supplements, such as cod liver oil because they also contain vitamins A and D. Vitamins A and D can be harmful in excessive amounts. High levels of the retinol form of vitamin A can pose a risk to the baby.
There are reported side effects of omega-3 supplements but they are usually mild. They include bad breath, bad-smelling sweat, unpleasant taste, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea.
Study Reviews : Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements During Pregnancy
In 2011, it was found that the babies of pregnant women who took fish oil supplements containing DHA had more fortified immune systems. Those babies whose mothers took the supplement had fewer days with cold symptoms in their first six months of life than those whose mothers received a placebo. Also, the newborn babies in the DHA group were also slightly less likely to come down with a cold in the first place. This study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
According to a Danish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, women who took fish oil during the last three months of pregnancy lowered the risk of their children developing asthma.
Researchers at Imperial College London found that adding omega-3 fish oil supplements to the diet during pregnancy and lactation reduced a child's risk of egg allergy by 30% at one year of life.
Remember that our body cannot make Omega 3s therefore we must get them from food and supplementation. However, it is always best to consult your health practitioner with regards to taking any dietary supplements.
Cheers to a good health!
About Sonya Huerta
Sonya holds an accounting degree, has worked as a secretary for over a decade at some very prominent news organizations and is a mother of three boys. Her vast experience as a writer and a mother has lead her to want to help other mothers find the best products for their children. Visit her website about pregnancy and parenting tips at goeslikethat.com