Benefit of Omega 3 and 6 During Pregnancy
What are the Benefits of Omega 3 and Omega 6?
The journey from conception to birth is an amazing one. During pregnancy, your little one’s brain develops at an astounding rate. To optimise pregnancy outcomes and fetal health, ensure that your little one receives adequate Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Learn about the benefits of these two fats and how to get a healthy balance in your pregnancy diet.
LCP is short for long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. These help our body function normally1, and are essential in your little one’s development. Omega 3 and omega 6 are two families of LCPs that are particularly essential because these can’t be produced by the body. As such, these fatty acids can only be obtained through your diet1.
Omega 3: Supporting Your Little One’s Heart, Brain and Vision
Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids comes with a number of health benefits. For one, it reduces the risk of developing heart disease2. This type of fatty acid also plays an important role in the development of your little one’s brain3, nervous system3 and eyes3, and contributes to normal cognitive development, which enables your little one to learn and think.
If you take enough omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation, you can expect the following results:
- A healthy birth weight3
- Reduced risk of preterm delivery3
- Reduced risk of developing eczema later in life4
- Healthier, stronger bones5
Research also shows that omega-3 is especially important during late pregnancy and the first few months after birth3. As well as supporting your little one’s health and development, studies suggest it may help to reduce your risk of antenatal6 and postnatal depression7.
Omega 6: Ensuring a Healthy Balance
Like omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids help support your heart health. Omega 6 is found in vegetable oils, and helps reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood. Give your little one an edge by consuming sufficient Omega 6 during pregnancy!
Add Healthy Fats Into Your Pregnancy Diet
Like most mothers, you are likely getting sufficient amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. However, chances are that your body lacks omega-3 fatty acids.
Oily fish such as salmon, sardine and mackerel are some of the richest sources of omega 3. During pregnancy, it’s recommended that you eat 2 portions a week for a healthy intake – any more than this and you might be exposed to high mercury content. For vegetarian mothers, walnuts, omega 3-enriched eggs, and flax seeds are the way to go!
- British Nutrition Foundation. N-3 fatty acids and health [Online]. 2000. Available at: http://nutrition.org.uk/attachments/156_n-3%20Fatty%20acids%20and%20health%20summary.pdf [Accessed February 2020]
- NHS UK. Fish and shellfish [Online]. 2018. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/fish- shellfish.aspx [Accessed February 2020]
- Jensen CL. Effects of n− 3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83(Suppl 6):S1452-1457.
- Gunaratne AW et al. Maternal prenatal and/or postnatal n‐3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) supplementation for preventing allergies in early childhood. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015;7.
- Koren N et al. Exposure to omega-3 fatty acids at early age accelerate bone growth and improve bone quality. J Nutr Biochem 2014;25(6):623-633.
- Golding J et al. High levels of depressive symptoms in pregnancy with low omega-3 fatty acid intake from fish. Epidemiol 2009;20(4):598-603.
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