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What are the benefits for the pregnant woman and her baby to take omega 3 during pregnancy? The role of omega 3 in pregnancy for the baby's brain is that it is necessary for its formation and development. Omega 3 helps the formation of the baby's brain tissue. When these essential fatty acids are ingested by the pregnant mother through her diet or through supplements, they cross the plantar barrier to reach the fetus and deposit in the baby's brain and eye tissue.
The nutritionist Marta Anguera, professor at the Blanquerna Faculty of Health Sciences, at the Ramon Llull University of Barcelona, reveals to us in this interview with Guiainfantil.com all the secrets of omega 3 fatty acids in relation to pregnancy and baby development.
What does omega 3 provide during pregnancy?
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, it is a type of fat that the human body cannot manufacture, and for this reason we must ingest it every day through our diet.
How much omega 3 should pregnant women take
During pregnancy, a fat intake of 30-35% of the total daily energy is recommended, the same as the rest of the population, but what is really important are the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega 6) that are requires between 3-4% of the energy of the diet and alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3) that is required between 1-0.5%.
According to himWorld Association of Perinatal Medicine Dietary Guidelines Working Group, the nutritional goals for pregnant women recommend taking 2 g of alpha-linolenic acid and a minimum of 200 mg of DHA per day.
What are the benefits of omega 3 for women during pregnancy?
The special importance of DHA during pregnancy resides in the fact that this fatty acid, together with arachidonic acid, forms an important part of the brain tissue of the fetus. DHA during pregnancy crosses the placental barrier to reach the baby and also crosses the blood-brain barrier of the fetus, to deposit itself in the brain and eye tissue, among others.
What foods with omega 3 are most beneficial during pregnancy?
Foods rich in omega 3 in order of concentration (from more omega 3 to less) are: fatty fish or colloquially called oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds and soybeans. To a lesser extent, we also find it in other nuts, olive oil and some seaweed. Fatty fish, unlike other foods, which are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, contain high doses of EPA and DHA directly, which is why it is recommended to take oily fish at least twice a week in pregnancy.
A controversial issue is the amount of heavy metals that some fish currently contain. In March 2011, the Secretary General of the Sea published a list of the species with the highest mercury content: swordfish, bluefin tuna, pike and various species of shark. For this reason, pregnant women and children are recommended to consume less fatty fish: sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, anchovies, etc. Canned tuna can also be consumed with peace of mind since it is white tuna or light tuna or bonito.
When is it advisable to take supplements?
The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends an adequate intake for women of polyunsaturated fatty acids omega 3 of 1.4 grams per day and omega 6 of 13 grams per day. Taking an omega 3 DHA supplement is recommended especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. If the mother does not regularly consume fatty fish or has had other pregnancies, the omega 3 DHA supplement is recommended from the beginning of pregnancy. In healthy women, the recommendation in these cases could be around 500 mg per day of DHA.
Is omega 3 suitable for breastfeeding? Why?
Yes. During breastfeeding, the omega 3 DHA supplement should be maintained, because the necessary dose of this fatty acid will reach the newborn through breast milk. For mothers who do not choose to breastfeed, formula milks are currently also enriched with essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6.
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