Nutrition plays a major role in the health of expectant mothers and their babies prior to and throughout pregnancy.
Research shows the best diet for expectant moms should be rich in essential prenatal nutrients such as folic acid, calcium and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
During pregnancy, DHA supports infant brain, eye and nervous system development and is particularly important in the third trimester when significant brain growth occurs. Developing infants cannot efficiently produce their own DHA and must obtain this vital nutrient through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk after birth. Maternal DHA supplementation during pregnancy and nursing significantly enhance the level of DHA available to the fetus and infant and may improve certain developmental outcomes such as:
- Eye-hand coordination
- Motor skills
- Attention span
DHA also provides important maternal benefits. It is suggested DHA supplementation during pregnancy can help lengthen gestation and support the mental state of the mother.
Most women do not get enough DHA in their diets. Fortunately, a growing awareness of the dietary sources of DHA and the recent inclusion of DHA in certain prenatal products and fortified foods are making it easier for women to include this important nutrient in their diets every day. Here’s a list of DHA-rich products for expectant moms: