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5 key facts about DHA and your baby's development

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

#1 DHA is crucial for brain and eye development

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an important long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, which maintains the structure and function of the brain and eyes. Fetal development and infancy are critical periods during which sufficient DHA level is necessary for optimal mental and visual development. DHA also improves performance, reduces inflammation, enhances immune function as well as optimizes body metabolism and repair.

#2 Your body does not produce DHA

Your body has a limited capacity to synthesize DHA, and thus, your main source of DHA comes from your diet. DHA is found in low amounts in meat and eggs. The best dietary source of DHA is seafood, especially oily fish. DHA is also found in fish oil supplements and algal oils.

#3 DHA is transferred to your developing baby

Maternal supply of DHA to the placenta and in breast milk is important for the foetus and young infant. This prenatal period is at risk for DHA deficiency because your body's store tends to decline. Ensuring sufficient dietary DHA is key for optimal fetal development. Try to consume more DHA-rich foods such as fish or through DHA supplements. Fish oil supplements help pregnant women to meet their DHA requirements.

#4 How much DHA should I take in pregnancy?

Recommended daily DHA intake during pregnancy / lactation varies among

international guidelines. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends

additional 200 mg DHA intake daily during pregnancy and lactation for normal

brain and eye development of the foetus and breast-fed infants.

#5 What DHA supplements are available?

There are many DHA oil supplements available in the market and they are mainly soft gel or capsule. Some women find it challenging to take such supplements. A juice-based drink that contains omega-3 including DHA can be considered instead of oil supplements - it is tasty too. But do consult your doctor to find out about these possibilities.

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