Pregnancy and Omega-3
The benefits of Omega-3 during pregnancy and for early birth babies
WRITTEN ON 20/05/2019. COPYRIGHTED BY KORURE. 3 MINUTES READ
Recent scientific researchers have discovered that consuming omega-3s such as DHA and EPA has a positive effect on visual and cognitive development of the baby. There is on-going support in risk reduction as a key factor in preterm births to reduce health problems of the babies in their lifetime.
BORN TOO SOON
There is an increase in early births in the most countries worldwide. 15 million babies are born prematurely every year. This equates to more than 1 in 10 babies are born too soon.
Furthermore, preterm birth is now the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age, with more than 1 million children dying each year due to problems associated with prematurity. Link
Premature babies can have an increased risk of developing significant health problems that can last a lifetime, including:
- Breathing problems
- Developmental issues and poor growth
- Learning and behavioural difficulties
- Visual and hearing impairments
- Increased risk of chronic disease later in life, such as high blood pressure and heart disease
In fact, premature birth is responsible for 85% of all complications in early life. Link
OMEGA-3 DURING PREGNANCY
The recent researches shows that the omega-3s such as EPA and DHA can improve pregnancy outcomes. DHA is an essential nutrient for the proper development of the baby’s brain, eyes and immune system. And during pregnancy, the baby’s only source of DHA while in the womb is directly from the mother. This is why it is important for pregnant women to add sufficient amount of omega-3s into their diet. Omega-3s can be consumed through food or supplementation. It is recommended that taking between 500-1000mg of omega-3s daily can show positive outcome in pregnancy and also reduce preterm births.
A study of 20,000 pregnant women showed the following:
- 42% less risk of early preterm birth (<34 weeks) Link
- 11% less risk of preterm birth (<37 weeks) Link
- 10% less risk of low birth weight (<5.5lb or <2.5kg) Link
Furthermore, Pregnant women with DHA levels less than 3% were 10x more likely to have early preterm birth compared to women with higher DHA levels.
Note: “Early preterm birth is less likely in women with higher Parental DHA levels.”
BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3S FOR BABY AND MUM AFTER BIRTH
The benefits of omega-3s especially DHA for the baby and the mum during pregnancy is evident through the study conducted by 20,000 pregnant women. How about after the birth?
A study showed that babies from mums who had higher DHA levels during pregnancy had better problem solving skills at the age of 1.
Further more, women with DHA levels less than 5% during pregnancy had lower postpartum depression scores.
Note: “Higher DHA levels during pregnancy provide benefits throughout childhood.”
The underlying message throughout the studies and researches show the positive correlation between omega-3 consumption during pregnancy and post pregnancy. Omega-3 consumption reduced risk of preterm births significantly meaning that it reduces complications for the baby in its earlier life. Consuming omega-3 while pregnant can be seen as a logical choice for all mothers.
Omega-3s are readily available in our everyday seafood such as fish (*Please be aware that marine animal-based omega-3s is different to plant-based omega-3s. Plant based omega-3s do not have the same benefits). If you do not wish to increase seafood in your diet, supplementation with rich source of omega-3s would be a great choice. These supplements include; mussel oil, fish oil, krill oil.