DHA is the essential nutrient for optimal development of the foetal brain, nervous system and eye. It is associated with a newborn’s greater head circumference, birth weight and length. In addition, it is also linked with longer gestation; pre-term infants have lower DHA levels at birth.
When does the foetus need DHA?
The percentage of DHA in retinal tissue has also been found to increase rapidly in the second half of pregnancy. This shows that the nutrient is greatly required for rapid eye development as well. Your unborn baby has the highest demand for DHA in the last trimester of your pregnancy when the growth of his brain is greatest. DHA content in the brain has been found to increase tree-fold during this period.
How does the foetus get DHA?
The foetus is wholly dependent on you for his DHA requirements, which he obtains through your umbilical cord. Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between a newborn’s DHA status and his mother’s DHA status and dietary intake. This means that a prenatal diet high in DHA will greatly raise the DHA level in the foetus thus allowing his optimal development in the womb.
How much DHA does the foetus require?
Health experts recommend a daily intake of 300mg of DHA for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to benefit their babies.
What happens if the foetus does not get enough DHA?
If an unborn baby does not get an adequate supply of DHA, he may have suppressed neuro visual development when he is born. This gives cause for concern because of possible long term effects on visual and cognitive functions.
Premature babies born without the benefit of DHA input during the time when it is most needed may have, neuro-visual problems, impaired blood vessel development with long term consequences.
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Look for NeuroGain® range of DHA supplements to make sure your child is getting enough of this important nutrient throughout their growing years.