What is DHA and why do we emphasize its importance during pregnancy?

Posted by | November 04, 2019 | LENS, Nutrition, Pregnancy Health | No Comments

DHA is a fat molecule commonly found in fish.  Like vitamins it is essential to normal development, indeed it is called an essential fatty acid.  Our eyes and brains especially require DHA.   In fact, it is the top building block for the brain and retina.  In a 2003 article in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers reported that mothers who took DHA supplements from week 18 of their pregnancy through delivery had children who tested higher on IQ tests at age four.  They concluded the DHA helped the brain develop to its fullest potential.

Can we get DHA from our diet?  The short answer is not very easily.  DHA is found in fish but we caution pregnant women not to eat too much fish because of the mercury in seafood.  Certain types of fish are okay because they are high in DHA and low in mercury.  The number one fish is farmed raised trout, number two is sardines.  I know very few women who like sardines, especially during pregnancy.  DHA is now being added to milk and eggs but you have to look for specific brands that do so, and they will be pricier.  To make it easy you can now get prenatal vitamins with DHA and take purified fish oil which is rich in DHA.  During your last trimester when brain growth is very rapid, do it all.   Eat eggs and milk fortified with DHA, have seafood low in mercury high in DHA (see our fish scale on our website), and take fish oil or a prenatal with DHA.   As I always say “DHA is food for thought”.

Dr. Mark Gostine

About Dr. Mark Gostine

A physician for more than 30 years. He is a proud father of four and a grandfather of two. The announcement of his daughter Emily’s first pregnancy and the joy of his first grandchild, were major turning points in his life. They became the inspiration for babyQ. From then on, he wanted to dedicate his clinical knowledge and energy to helping young women have healthier pregnancies and better babies. Voted one of the best 100 doctors in his field in America, Dr. Gostine is a practitioner of nutrition who creates health education modules for his patients. He, along with Dr. of my children,” he says. “My hope is that young mothers and fathers everywhere will give their children the best start because it is so much better to prevent disease early than treat it later.” Dr. Gostine, a native of Michigan, received his medical degree from Wayne State University College of Medicine in Detroit, and is Board Certified in both anesthesiology and pain management. He completed his undergraduate studies and his medical residency in anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, followed by a pain management fellowship at the Kansas City Consortium in Missouri. Currently President of Michigan Pain Consultants and Founder of ProCare Systems, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.