Sign in

Omega 3 DHA in Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know

Prapti Chauhan

Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a vital nutrient during pregnancy as it benefits both the mother and fetus. Found in fatty fish and algae, DHA supports the development of the fetal brain and eyes, reduces the risk of preterm birth, and improves the mother's mental health.

Supplementing with DHA during pregnancy promotes brain cell growth and neural connections in the growing baby, thus enhancing their cognitive function and visual acuity. It also helps reduce the risk of postpartum depression and improves the mother's mood. Considering the increased DHA requirements during pregnancy, maintaining a balanced diet or using appropriate supplements is crucial to ensure optimal outcomes. 

Benefits of omega-3 DHA during pregnancy

Consuming omega-3 DHA during pregnancy offers several benefits, such as:

  • Enhanced fetal brain development
  • Improved eye development in the fetus
  • Reduced risk of preterm birth
  • Supports cognitive function in infants
  • Aids in the growth of neural connections in the fetal brain
  • Potential reduction in the risk of postpartum depression
  • Enhances maternal mental health and mood
  • Essential nutrient for the overall well-being of both mother and baby

Safe food sources of omega-3 DHA during pregnancy

It is important to consume foods rich in omega-3 DHA during pregnancy. Here are some safe food sources of omega-3 DHA that can be included in the mother's diet:

  • Fatty fish: Cold-water fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 DHA and are generally safe to consume during pregnancy. However, you must avoid high-mercury fish like sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

  • Chia seeds: These tiny seeds provide a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA. They can be added to smoothies and yogurt or sprinkled on salads or cereals.

  • Flaxseeds: Ground flaxseeds are another plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, but they contain a different type called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body needs to convert into DHA.

  • Walnuts: Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA.

  • Fortified foods: Some foods, such as eggs, milk, or bread, may be fortified with omega-3 DHA, providing additional dietary DHA during pregnancy.

Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is recommended to ensure specific nutritional needs are met during pregnancy.

The recommended dosage of omega-3 DHA during pregnancy

The recommended dosage of omega-3 DHA during pregnancy may vary. Consult with your doctor before starting any supplementation. The American Pregnancy Association recommends a daily intake of 200-300 milligrams of DHA during pregnancy. Omega-3 DHA supplements usually come as fish oil or algal oil capsules, with the amount of DHA per serving indicated on the product label. If using prenatal multivitamins, it is advisable to check the label to determine if additional supplementation is necessary.


Omega-3 DHA is crucial in supporting a healthy pregnancy for the mother and the developing fetus. Incorporating safe food sources of omega-3 DHA into the diet can help meet the recommended intake.

Prapti Chauhan
Zupyak is the world’s largest content marketing community, with over 400 000 members and 3 million articles. Explore and get your content discovered.
Read more