As an excited, expectant mother-to-be, you want to be your best, and you want to be at your healthiest, not only for you, but for your unborn child too.
“Omega-3 is an Essential Nutrient
for optimal physical & mental development”
Using Omega-3 during pregnancy forms part of the essential supplements to take during this eventful time of your life – for a healthy pregnancy (during and after) and just for the importance of your overall Maternal Wellbeing.
Supplementing your Maternal Diet with Omega-3 Fatty Acids has so many advantages, scientific research has indicated these advantages to be:
- The reduced risk of preterm labour
- The reduced risk for perinatal and postpartum depression
- The protection against cardiovascular disease
- The lowering of your triglyceride levels
- The prevention of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- The reduced incidence of preeclampsia, and
- In general, a good overall Maternal Health and post pregnancy
Seen as this intake of a good Omega-3 supplement only has a positive outcome for your pregnancy, what about your unborn child?
There is in fact a large and growing body of scientific literature which shows that your intake during pregnancy, especially the last trimester, enhances your baby’s cognitive development too, such as their sensory, cognitive, and motor development.
Preparing for your unborn child’s health with Omega-3 (through further research) concludes that upon delivery of your child, and with evidence of higher levels of Omega-3 in a mother’s system, they’re now infants, showed a greater attention span into their second year of life.
With all these mother and baby advantages of including Omega-3 in your Maternal Diet, what about your post pregnancy?
All mothers-to-be want to function optimally with bursts of energy, and be happy after their baby has been born. It is now evident through researched that supplementing with Omega-3 during pregnancy has an effect on post pregnancy, in that it lowers the risk of Postpartum Depression. With the correct levels, you are likely not to suffer or have any depression symptoms.*
However, if you are a mother lacking in Omega-3 (during and after) your pregnancy, you are at a higher risk, and are six times more likely to show depression symptoms, or suffer from postpartum depression.
Take note: further studies are to be conducted in order to establish supplementing with Omega-3, during and after pregnancy, in the prevention or treatment of depression post pregnancy.*
Now… what about Omega-3 sources in your Maternal Diet during and after pregnancy
We have listed a few sources of Omega-3, taking into account the safety and general quality, and understanding that not all fish sources are good sources of Omega-3.
Actual fish sources – considered to be the richest sources of Omega-3, but are not necessarily the best source. You need to look at:
- How oily they are – regard salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, etc. as oily fish
- If they are salt or fresh water fish – fresh water fish have lower levels of Omega-3
- Farmed salmon – being farmed, these fish tend to have unsafe levels of the chemical dioxin (toxic) and polychlorinated biphenyls
- Fish that are higher in the food chain – usually these fish accumulate toxins, e.g. sharks and swordfish – best to avoid them altogether during pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding
Omega-3 supplementation as a source – You need to look at:
- Sources that are found naturally in the human food chain
- Sources that deliver the “standardised” eight Omega-3 fatty acids – as they are in actual fish sources
- Sources that are absent of contaminants
Then there is fortified foods – look out for Omega-3 in this source that may be isolated, you need all eight Omega 3’s.
And finally your plant source – there are a few plants rich in Omega-3, but may be in the basic alpha linolenic acid form, your body still needs to convert them for use.
With all this extra knowledge of the role of Omega-3 in your Maternal Diet, remember to include it in your daily intake right from the start.
Having the right amounts in your system, at the right time, will allow you to be your best and healthiest, not only for you, but for your unborn child too.
Please consult your practitioner for the recommended amounts of daily intake, before and after your pregnancy.
*These medicines have not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council.
*These medicines are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
An article by Arianna Carughi, Ph.D., C.N.S – The Role of Omega-3 Long-Chain Fatty Acids During Pregnancy