The omega-3s in fatty fish are critical for brain and vision development in the fetus and newborn, yet most pregnant and lactating women don’t consume anywhere near enough of these essential fats, state researchers at Canada’s Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (AprON), a professional group composed of researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. In this study, the first 600 women in their cohort were followed during and after their pregnancies to see whether they were consuming adequate omega-3s to meet current recommendations (at least 500 milligrams a day). Results showed that only 27% of women during pregnancy and 25% at three months postpartum met these levels. Women who took supplements containing DHA were up to 11.1 times more likely to meet the current recommendations, yet only 44% of these women continued to take their supplements when breast feeding at three months postpartum.
In Perspective: It is clear that most women are unaware of the importance of these fats, especially DHA, for normal growth and development of their babies throughout gestation and during lactation.
Jia X, Pakseresht M, Wattar N, et al: Women who take n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements during pregnancy and lactation meet the recommended intake. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 2015; March 25th.