A chip off the old block


The consumption of EPA and DHA throughout whole pregnancy has a protective effect on pregnancy induced hypertension, preterm birth risk, birth weight, birth length and head circumference at birth. The developing fetus completely depends on the maternal essential fatty acid supply. Maternal nutrition (especially omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) is a determining factor in fetal development.

Third trimester of gestation is considered to be the most important regarding the contribution of the omega-3 DHA in fetal growth, but there is also a positive association of maternal DHA in early pregnancy with baby’s birth weight and this suggests that supplementation of DHA may be useful in improving pregnancy outcome from the first moment, not only during the third trimester of gestation.

From the early pregnancy, there is a positive association between maternal DHA in red blood cells and cord DHA levels, and maternal DHA in red blood cells at first trimester is also positively associated with baby weight. However, women delivering low birth weight babies have higher total omega-6 fatty acids in red blood cells (also during second trimester). And, finally, in low birth weight babies, at delivery total omega-3 fatty acids levels in red blood cells are lower and omega-6 fatty acids levels are higher.

To ensure an adequate supply of omega-3 is important from the early pregnancy.