As soon as you see those two pink lines you know you have a tiny human on board. The mother instincts kick in and you want to do everything you can to grow the healthiest baby.
Let me tell you about DHA, it stands for Docosahexaenic Acid, don’t worry I’m glad they abbreviated it too.
It is an omega-3 fatty acid and plays an integral role in the development of the central nervous system. Very small amounts of DHA are made in the body from linolenic acid, but this is not enough to keep up with the high demands of pregnancy. Your baby relies on your intake of omega-3 to develop its brain, nervous system & eyes.
So the increased demand for DHA during pregnancy means you need to up the anti on DHA rich foods like oily fish such as salmon & sardines as well as nuts, seeds, wholegrain & dark leafy veg. As a clinical nutritionist I also recommend that you see a health care practitioner who can guide you in the direction of a good quality supplement.
Please be aware that there are some very different grades of supplements and fish oils are not one to cut corners on. The quality of the fish oil is crucial and must meet Australian standards. Fish oils can go rancid easily, if you are getting a fishy after taste I can tell you it is most probably oxidized and of poor quality. It is important to make sure your supplements are free from mercury, lead & other toxins, as these are not recommended during pregnancy. This is why I turn to practitioner grade DHA for assurance of the highest quality.
If maternal levels of DHA are on the low side some DHA can be taken from mothers richest source – her own brain. Mother nature will always put your developing baby first, leaving Mum depleted. This depletion of DHA can then result in postnatal depression. If that is not enough, baby will continue to leach from our stores via breast milk.
So go on, tuck into some oily fish and know that you may have the next Einstein on board.
BHSc Nutritional Medicine