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.





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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *