What do you know about Omega 3 fatty acids?
You may or may not have had a conversation with your midwife doctor about omega 3s when you talked about diet and supplements. In case you didn't here is a primer about what you might like to know:
Omega 3s come in three types: ALA, DHA, and and EPA.
DHA is critical for your baby's brain development.
Your body is capable of creating DHA and EPA from ALA.
ALA must come from a dietary source.
You might think you need to eat fish, and if you're like me and the thought of eating fishes makes your stomach turn for one reason or another, I'd like to make a couple of suggestions. Sure, you can eat fish like salmon, herring, and sardines to get your omega three's, but you can also expose your developing baby to heavy metals like mercury by eating fish that has been poisoned with high levels of metals. Oil supplements? I'm almost as afraid of "fish oil burps" as I am afraid of the fish themselves.
You can cut out "the middle fish" and get your omega threes the way they do: from algae (yum?). Not to worry, there are lots of great algae supplements out there, so you don't need to set yourself up for something equally as distasteful. If you like seaweed, you can do a little research and make some veggie sushi rolls and get your omega 3s in a tasty lunch.
There have been no studies (that I can find on reputable websites) indicating the safety of flax and chia in pregnant women. Some worry that flax has estrogenic activities or that the consumption of these kinds of seeds in their whole form might cause GI distress in people with diverticulitis. I'd love to find a reputable study or two to support any concerns, so please share if you find any! Other foods with estrogenic activities include sweet potatoes, dairy and soy. I personally enjoy both flax and chia on a regular basis. Both flax and chia only provide the ALA form of Omega 3s (which is the only form you must take in via your diet).
The bottom line? Ask your doctor or midwife and do some research on your own to determine the best form of Omega 3s in your life. And then find and share some recipes with your other pregnant friends!
I'm one of those people who loves making your life easier (and I believe in you). I am an experienced registered prenatal yoga teacher and a lactation educator.
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