Maternal nutrition during and after pregnancy plays an important role in fetal and infant development.
During pregnancy, DHA – a long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid – supports optimal infant brain development, and is particularly important in the third trimester when significant brain growth occurs. Developing babies must obtain this vital nutrient through the placenta during pregnancy.
Maternal DHA supplementation while nursing significantly enhances the level of DHA available to the infant and may improve certain developmental outcomes, such as normal cognitive function. Developing babies must obtain this vital nutrient from breast milk or from infant formula fortified with DHA.
However, most pregnant and nursing women do not get enough DHA in their diet, which could affect the baby. The primary source of DHA is fatty fish, a dietary choice that is not a staple of the typical Western diet. Fortunately, DHA derived from a vegetarian and sustainable source – algae – can be found prenatal products and fortified foods and beverages, making it easier for women to include this important nutrient in their diets every day.
Some of the most popular prenatal products and fortified foods and beverages for expecting and new moms are:
Francesco Rinaldi’s ToBe Healthy Pasta Sauce, which is enhanced with DHA omega-3