According to recent research, nutrition during pregnancy should include the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. These are important to help the development of the fetus, prevent prematurity and improve brain development. Most diets are deficient in these nutrients. Fish oil is a good source and the supplementation of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA eicosapentaenoic acid) will supply these Omega-3 fatty acids.
The problem with most diets is the high content of Omega-6 which is found in fried and fast foods, milk and meats). The Omega-6 fatty acids, namely Linoleic acid (LA) is converted into Arachidonic Acid (AA) which in turn cause constriction of vessels, activation of platelets and clot formation and inflammation. This is not beneficial to circulation.
On the other hand the Omega-3′s help do the opposite and are beneficial. It is known that if the mother is deficient in Omega-3′s, the baby tends to be premature. The vital role of Omega-3′s is attested by the fact that Omega-3′s help attain full birth weight, reduce prematurity, enhance maternal milk quality, improve the development of fetal brain and eyes. Additionally Omega-3 ‘s help relax the uterine smooth muscle cells and vessels during pregnancy. For the mother and adults the Omega-3′s help prevent heart disease. To provide adequate intake it is recommended that adults have at least 2 servings of fish every week. DHA and EPA intake should be 300 mg of each daily.
1) Hornstra G. Essential fatty acids in mothers and their neonates. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:1262S-12629S.
2)Mc Gregor JA, Allen, KGD, Harris, MA,et al. The omega-3 story: Nutritional prevention of preterm birth and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Obstet Gyn Survey, 2001; 56:S!-S13.