DHA in Pregnancy: Fetal and Newborn Health

DHA: Omega 3 fatty acids for you and your baby

A recent article in Time magazine called  Fish Oil During Pregnancy Fights Colds Among Newborns highlights the benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil and its affects on the health of a developing fetus’ immune system and how that translates to a healthier newborn up to 6 months old.
According to the research study, at Emory University and in Mexico, which was featured in the article and released in Pediatrics, pregnant women who took 400mg a day of DHA , helped their newborns to fight off more cold symptoms than moms who took the  placebo and the effects seem to last for six months. After the initial 6 months post-birth, the DHA-protected infants began to experience roughly the same rate of symptoms (though they were for a shorter duration) as those babies whose mothers did not take DHA.
This, of course, is NOT news to those of us in the holistic community. We always encourage our moms-to-be to take DHA along with a good prenatal vitamin during pregnancy. We find that pairing these supplements, along with acupuncture can greatly benefit both baby and  mom, including in helping to prevent postpartum issues.

DHA: Flowering a healthy immune system and vibrant brain for your baby

Other Proven Benefits of DHA Supplementation:

  • More advanced attention spans into the child’s second year of life
  • Greater infant brain development
  • Higher IQs at four years of age than children of mothers not supplementing DHA
  • Decreased potential risk  for depression and particularly, postpartum depression in mothers
  • Longer average gestation periods, allowing for greater development of baby

Besides being great during pregnancy, Omega 3 oils containing DHA found in food sources like cold water fish, flaxseed, spirulina and walnuts can help protect your heart, lower blood pressure and reduce rates of clinical depression.

Acupuncture for Healthy Pregnancy and Postpartum Care

PreggersIn our work with women eager to conceive, we are well aware of the power of acupuncture for balancing the body and aiding in establishing the ideal conditions for conception. Western medicine is even catching up with recent studies at the University of Maryland showing that when acupuncture is used to complement in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures,  there is improved rates of pregnancy.  But we knew that!

So what about once you’re pregnant? There are a lot of fears for expectant and first time mothers to juggle when it comes to their new little ones but when it comes to acupuncture, performed by a qualified and licensed acupuncturist,  there needn’t be any concern. In fact, as we’ve seen our practice, acupuncture is one of the safest ways to combat some of the toughest health issues facing pregnant and postpartum women.

Why Acupuncture in Pregnancy?

Why not?

Besides the fact that science is finally backing up what the Chinese have known for thousands of years, you can feel the benefits for yourself — without risk. Because this treatment is a natural, holistic approach, you don’t have to worry about dangerous side effects and possible drug interactions affecting the well-being of your unborn child.

Acupuncture treatments have proven effective for:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • GERD (reflux or heartburn)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Stress/anxiety/depression
  • Constipation
  • Preterm labor
  • Breech baby

For best results, we recommend you begin treatment early and continue on monthly, during pregnancy,  increasing your sessions upon advice of your acupuncturist, as you near the end of your term. These visits help to prepare the body for labor, tonifying and balancing energy as well as optimizing the baby’s position, softening the cervix and readying you and the baby for birth. Following a protocol like this can make pregnancy more pleasant, calm and energized and childbirth easier, even extending to shorter labor times.

When used in conjunction with recommendations from your Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN), acupuncture becomes one of the building blocks (along with diet and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies and supplements) of your and your baby’s health during and post-pregnancy. Allowing you to have the healthiest, most natural pregnancy and postpartum period possible.acupuncture

After your baby is born, acupuncture can help ease the nerves of new motherhood and is extremely effective in aiding milk production. It is also helpful in reducing:

  • Postpartum depression
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Uterine infections
  • Fatigue

All of which, helps your body return, more quickly to its normal state of health.

Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toil on a woman’s body, make sure you take YOU into consideration in this equation. Every new Mama needs to focus on herself as well as the new baby — taking time to relax, breath, nourish herself with healthful foods and pleasant sensations (warm baths, soothing music, refreshing walks) as she integrates her new life, with the old. Acupuncture can also provide that quiet space and time necessary to rejuvenate.

If you’d like to learn more about acupuncture as part of your pregnancy, birth plan or postpartum care call or visit our office to schedule an appointment at 503.223.3741.