What Nutrients Are Essential During Pregnancy?
Every pregnant woman wants to provide the best for the baby growing inside of her, and eating a nutrient-rich diet is one of the best ways to ensure baby gets the best possible start in life.
One vital set of nutrients that every woman should be getting are omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the health of both mother and baby. Two of the most beneficial omega 3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA supports the heart, immune system, and inflammatory response, while DHA supports the brain, eyes, and central nervous system.
Omega-3’s are essential to the neurological and visual development of a child in utero and studies have shown that adding EPA and DHA to the diet of pregnant women positively affects the cognitive and visual function of babies. This is because fatty acids travel through the placenta to support the development of cell membranes in the brain and retina.
And more than supporting the development of the baby, omega-3’s are also vital to the overall flourishing of a pregnant mother. Because EPA reduces inflammatory compounds that promote early labour, sufficient omega-3 intake has been shown to help reduce pre-term labor and delivery. And once baby is born, women with higher omega-3 intake have a lower risk of postpartum depression. Not only that, but omega-3’s are necessary in the production of breast milk, which continues to nourish a child’s developing brain in the first year of life.
The best dietary source of omega-3’s is cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, and trout. If regular fish intake is lacking it can be beneficial to supplement during pregnancy. Not only does this guarantee a sufficient intake of these essential fatty acids, but it ensures a toxin-free source if a high quality, purity-tested omega-3 supplement is chosen.
So for the flourishing of both mom and baby, be sure to provide enough omega-3’s to your hard-working body during pregnancy.