Some nutrients can be procured through food and omega-3 fats are one such essential fats that can be got from diet only. Pregnant women require more of these essential fats, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) or DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as they provide a multitude of benefits to the moms-to-be and their babies.
Although fish is the best source of DHA and EPA, many of us avoid fish for its smell and flavor. Nutritionists/dietitians recommend individuals to eat fish low in mercury at least two times a week. Increased mercury content can affect the developing brains and nervous system of the baby inside the womb.
Health Benefits of Omega-3s
Fish contains different nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals and omega-3s while containing low saturated fats. Omega-3 fats in fish safeguard the pregnant woman against premature delivery and improve brain and vision development in the baby.
Do’s & Don’ts While Eating Foods
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, cod and catfish are amongst the suggested fish options that are considered to improve the health of pregnant women when consumed at least twice or thrice a week. Avoid shark and swordfish that have high mercury content.
As DHA is helpful to avoid preterm deliveries and improves infant brain and vision development, vegetarian moms-to-be can consume DHA-fortified foods, eggs from hen fed DHA-rich microalgae or consume a microalgae-derived DHA supplement. A registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com is the right person to suggest supplements depending on your food intake criteria. An RDN can also designate a meal plan that includes required fish portions along with other healthy diet foods for a healthy pregnancy.