Pregnancy & Nursing

DHA During Pregnancy and DHA While Breastfeeding

Maternal nutrition before, during and after pregnancy plays an important role in fetal and infant development, as well as in maternal well-being. During pregnancy, DHA supports optimal infant brain, eye and nervous system development and is particularly important in the third trimester when significant brain growth occurs. Developing infants cannot efficiently produce their own DHA and must obtain this vital nutrient through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk after birth. Maternal DHA supplementation during pregnancy and nursing significantly enhances the level of DHA available to the fetus and infant and may improve certain developmental outcomes, such as:

  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Motor skills
  • Attention span

DHA also provides important maternal benefits. It is suggested DHA supplementation during pregnancy can help lengthen gestation length and support the mental state of the mother.

The Importance of DHA During Pregnancy and Nursing

Breast milk naturally contains DHA. Therefore, it is important that breastfeeding women consume a healthy diet that includes these important nutrients to support both their health and the health of their developing infant.

Most women do not get enough DHA in their diets. The primary source of DHA is fatty fish, a dietary choice that is not a staple of the typical Western diet. Fortunately, a growing awareness of the dietary sources of DHA and the recent inclusion of DHA in certain prenatal products and fortified foods are making it easier for women who are breastfeeding to include this important nutrient in their diets every day.

Recognizing the importance of maternal DHA intake, a workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (NIH/ISSFAL) recommended an intake of 200mg/day of DHA for pregnant and nursing women.

Recent Posts

  • 3 Truths About Blue Light and Eye Health

    3 Truths About Blue Light and Eye Health

    What do blue light, the sun, and your diet including DHA have in common? Your eyes. That's right! Blue light, the sun, and healthy fats all influence the health of your eyes. Learn three truths about blue light and eye health. Read More

  • Video: How This Memory Champion Trains His Brain

    Video: How This Memory Champion Trains His Brain

    Nelson Dellis, 4-time USA Memory Champion and adventure sport athlete, shares what a typical day looks like for this athlete. Nutrition is an important part of his daily routine and his training program. Brain Armor with life’sOMEGA vegetarian DHA and EPA omega-3s help to support his journey. Read More

  • 4 Key Nutrients for a Healthy Vegetarian Pregnancy

    4 Key Nutrients for a Healthy Vegetarian Pregnancy

    A nutritious diet is essential for every mother-to-be as nutritional deficiencies are common during pregnancy, but for the vegetarian mamma, it is even more important. Learn about four key nutrients for a healthy vegetarian pregnancy from award-winning dietitian Melanie McGrice, AdvAPD. Read More

  • Caring for Your Parents – Omega-3s for the Second Half of Life

    Caring for Your Parents – Omega-3s for the Second Half of Life

    Many mothers are caring for more people than just their children, they’re also caring for their parents who need to maintain healthy habits throughout the second half of their lives. If you’re a caregiver, read on to learn how an important nutrient – omega-3s – can help support your loved ones’ health. Read More