Pregnancy Articles

DHA May Boost Baby's Brain

Pregnancy Nutrition News Flash

Can your prenatal diet really help your baby's brain? More and more studies indicate YES! Research from the University of Connecticut (published in the June 2007 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) reported that infants of women who consumed DHA (a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid) during pregnancy performed better on problem-solving tasks.

In the study, 29 pregnant women were randomly place into two groups at gestation week 24. One group received cereal bars containing 300 milligrams of DHA each. The second group of women received cereal bars containing no DHA. All study participants ate, on average, five bars each week for the remainder of their pregnancies. When their infants were nine months old, they were tested using the Infant Planning Test and the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence.

No significant differences in overall intelligence or memory recognition were noted between the two groups. However, the infants of the DHA-eating mothers performed significantly better in problem-solving.

According to these researchers, many pregnant women are not aware that consuming DHA is important during pregnancy and lactation. On top of that, women who are aware of their need for DHA are concerned with finding safe dietary sources of this omega-3 fatty acid.

BabyFit Tip: According to this research, a prenatal diet rich in DHA can help boost your infant's problem solving ability. To get it, add the following safe food sources to your diet:
  • Fish and seafood, like salmon, lake trout, sardines, tuna, herring, oysters, shrimp and shellfish. To decrease your consumption of fish polluted with methyl mercury, dioxins, and PCBs follow these FDA and EPA recommendations for pregnant women.
  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil
  • Canola and soybean oils
  • Discuss omega-3 supplementation with your health care provider. Make sure the supplement you choose together is molecularly distilled and steam deodorized to remove contaminants.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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