The importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy cannot be overstated.
The foundation for your baby’s health is laid down during your pregnancy, and choices you make now can have far-reaching consequences.
That’s why you need to include Omega 3 essential fatty acids in your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are called essential because your body needs them for mental and physical health.
While your body can produce some of the compounds you need from the food you eat, it cannot produce Omega 3 fatty acids. You must include good sources of these foods in your diet.
Omega 3 fatty acids are used by the developing baby in brain development, retina formation, and to develop the nervous system. Omega 3 fatty acids are especially important during the third trimester of pregnancy when the baby’s brain is undergoing its most rapid phase of development.
They help keep you healthy during pregnancy by reducing your chances of developing preeclampsia, helping prevent post-partum depression, and lowering the chances that you will go into preterm labor, which can have serious consequences for your baby.
Even after your baby is born, the Omega 3 fatty acids you ate during pregnancy will continue to be helpful, and may result in a greater attention span, greater visual acuity, less chance of developmental problems, and a lower incidence of breast or prostate cancer in later life.
Fortunately, Omega 3 fatty acids are easy to include in your diet. Good sources include:
- oily fish like salmon and sardines
- tuna (fresh or frozen, but not raw)
- dark green vegetables
- canola, sunflower or flaxseed oil
You can also find Omega 3 supplements. Aim for an intake of at least 250 mgs daily, or as recommended by your health care provider.