Doctors recommend prenatal vitamins with DHA for pregnant women, because DHA, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid, helps in fetal brain, heart and eye development…
Women planning to have a baby in the coming months, as well as pregnant women, require a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals in their bodies. This is to ensure the healthy growth of the baby and maintain overall good health of the mother. While consuming a well-balanced diet is vital to furnish the body with the nourishment required, it is also advised to take some prenatal vitamins which will help fill the deficit if any. These days, prenatal vitamins with DHA have become extremely popular with pregnant women. Let’s find out why!
Prenatal Vitamins with DHA
Nutritional research has revealed that omega-3 essential fatty acids are extremely beneficial to pregnant women, which is why more and more doctors are recommending intake of prenatal vitamins with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to their patients. DHA is important for brain, heart and eye health. However, as this essential nutrient is not produced by the fetus it has to be provided from outside, which happens to be the mother’s body.
DHA is found mostly in fish (salmon and sardine), seaweeds and egg yolks, however, since pregnant women are often told to limit intake of fish due to risk of mercury toxicity, often pregnant women end up with low levels of DHA in their bodies. Moreover, due to morning sickness, most of the nutrients ingested are lost during pregnancy.
Thus, today we have omega-3 fatty acids being included in prenatal vitamins. Women with DHA deficiencies are seen to give birth to babies with low head circumference, low birth weight and low placental weight. Appropriate levels of DHA also helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. It also softens stool and prevents constipation, which is a common problem faced by pregnant women.
Pregnant women are recommended to take 300 milligrams of DHA every day. This total amount can be obtained from food as well as supplements. When pregnant women take these DHA prenatal vitamins, the fetus receives it through the blood via the placenta and umbilical cord.
For proper fetal brain development, it is important to provide the fetus adequate amounts of DHA omega-3 fatty acids. DHA is an essential building block for formation of human brain tissue. Compared to all the other fatty acids, DHA has the largest effect on the composition of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain. Since 70% brain cells are formed before birth, it is all the more important to provide DHA to the fetus. Moreover, DHA omega-3 also improves the fetus’ learning and cognitive functions. Babies are seen to have greater attention span during the initial two years of their lives.
DHA also plays a crucial role in coordination of signal transmission of the brain, eye and nervous system. DHA increases flexibility of cell membranes which is essential for message transfer in the brain. It also increases heart and eye health. Women taking these prenatal vitamins reduce the risks of pre-term labor, toxemia and postpartum depression.
Very few women are seen to suffer from side effects. For some women these vitamin supplements may conduce to fatigue, insomnia, belching, heartburn, loss of appetite, etc. However, these side effects are seen in rare cases. Prenatal vitamins with DHA are not deleterious, if taken in the right amount.
Prenatal vitamins with DHA play an important role in prenatal care and compensate for any kind of vitamin deficiency, furnishing all necessary nutrients to the growing fetus and carrying mother. One can get these over-the-counter, however, before taking any of the fish oil supplements, it is important to consult your gynecologist.