Benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy
Early intake of Omega 3 improves visual acuity in premature babies. In addition, epidemiological studies show that pregnant women who eat a diet rich in Omega 3 have a 2.6 times lower risk of developing hypertension.
The consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation is essential for the neurological development and growth of the newborn. Omega 3s reduce up to 2.6 times the risk of hypertension associated with pregnancy, improve postural, motor and social functions of premature babies and have a positive effect on the mental development of the low-weight newborn.
On the contrary, it is known that the deficiency of essential fatty acids conditions high perinatal mortality and can cause serious alterations in humans such as growth disturbances, changes in behavior and learning, and decreased visual acuity.
Recommended intake of Omega 3 fatty acids
“In some studies, low concentrations of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have been associated with a shorter gestation and smaller head circumferences in newborns”, explains Professor Ángel Gil, professor of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Granada and coordinator of the White Book of Omega 3.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as Omega 3, play very important roles in pregnancy, lactation and childhood , as they are constituents of phospholipids in cell membranes and are part of neural structures.
The needs of these fatty acids increase during these periods since they are phases of growth and development of cellular tissue. Consequently, the essential fatty acid requirements of pregnant women and fetuses, as well as nursing children, are very high. “Especially during the third trimester of gestation where the fetal requirements are very high due to the growth of nervous tissue and the development and differentiation of neurons”, comments Professor Gil.
Recommended daily intake of Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy.
Specifically, Professor Gil recommends the consumption of at least 200 mg / day of Omega 3 in pregnant women , “since the fetus captures between 50 and 60 mg / day of this type of acid during the third trimester”. As stated in the Omega 3 Institute book, during the last trimester there is an accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in fetal tissues, especially in those of the central nervous system, which continues in the postnatal period. Thus, Omega 3s should represent up to 2% of the total energy in the diet in this period of time , twice as much as in women in a normal state.
During lactation , the mother loses 70-80 mg of DHA in milk, in addition to the amounts used to meet her own demands for these fatty acids.