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.
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.
- Fish Oil Supplements in Pregnancy Boost Infants’ Immunity (livescience.com)
- DHA During Pregnancy May Cut Infant Colds (webmd.com)
- Harvard Medical School Study Finds EPA, DHA, Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids are Individually Related to Lower Incidences of Coronary Heart Failure, says Nutri-Med Logic Corp (prweb.com)
- Study shows protective benefits of DHA taken during pregnancy (eurekalert.org)