Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA provide a variety of health benefits for expectant mothers, including promoting healthy brain and eye development in their babies. However, researchers in Canada say women who are pregnant and nursing may not be eating enough of these healthy fats.
Using data from the long-term Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APRON) study, scientists from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary were able to determine that less than 30 percent of pregnant women and only a quarter of new mothers are consuming the daily amount of Omega-3 recommended by leading health experts—typically at least 500 mg total Omega-3 fats, including at least 200 mg of DHA. When they did consume the beneficial fats, they came mostly from seafood—salmon in particular.
Interestingly, pregnant and nursing women who reported taking a DHA fish oil supplement were up to 11 percent more likely to meet the daily Omega-3 recommendations. Researchers hope the results of the study, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, will increase awareness about the benefits of Omega-3 fats during and after pregnancy.