Omega 3 and Omega 6 – Their Benefits When Pregnant (Part 1)

In perinatal nutrition, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) of the omega-3 and omega-6 groups are in the limelight owing to their role in neurodevelopment (fetal and newborn) and in inflammation.

Why are Omega 3 & Omega 6 considered essential?

Amongst the 20 odd edible fatty acids, only omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are not synthesized by the body, hence the term “essential”.

It is even more important during pregnancy as the only way your baby receives omega 3 and omega 6 is via your placenta.

What are the benefits of these PUFA’s?

It is important to know that the PUFAs omega-3 and omega-6 groups are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs) and helps in maintaining both your health and your baby’s overall development (mainly neural and heart) throughout pregnancy.

Benefits of Omega 3 and Omega 6 to the baby are:

  • Aids in the nervous system along with cognitive development ( including verbal, motor and social skills)
  • Proper visual development
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Normal birth weight
  • Reduced chance of preterm delivery
  • Reduces the chance of getting eczema later in life
  • Builds strong bones

Benefits of Omega 3 and Omega 6 to the mommy are:

  • Helps in reducing inflammation
  • Decreases the risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Improves insulin resistance
  • Plays a role in blood clotting
  • Helps in proper brain functioning

How much of Omega 3 and Omega 6 should you have?

University of Maryland Medical Center suggests the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat lies between the range of 2:1 and 4:1 is optimum.

In most people (pregnant women included) there is a disproportionate ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat  (more of omega 6’s). As per few studies, this altered ratio promotes inflammation and also may cause a risk of your child having obesity later on in life.

 

 

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Aishwarya

Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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