How Can Omega 3 Fatty Acids Improve Women’s Fertility?

Fertility and Pregnancy

These days, when you want to have a baby or when you’re pregnant, you may hear that it’s better to take omega 3 fatty acids. However, do you know the reason that you should take it? It is said that omega 3 fatty acids are good for fertility…but how?

In this article, we will explain “how can omega 3 fatty acids improve women’s fertility?”

To develop a baby’s brain

The first 1000 days of a child’s development are from the moment of conception until the child’s second birthday. This is an invaluable period of time for parents to positively impact their child’s long-term physical and mental health and to help them reach their full potential.

The second half of pregnancy and young adulthood are critical periods for brain growth; DHA is the major lipid constituent of the brain, and the brains of fetuses and young children require a large accumulation of omega 3 fatty acids as they grow. A study by Kannass et al. in 2009 showed that infants born to mothers with high blood omega 3 fatty acids levels at delivery had higher levels of concentration duration at age two.

To investigate the importance of omega 3 fatty acids in fetal or infant brain growth and development, they studied the association between maternal omega 3 fatty acids status and problem-solving ability with healthy-born infants. 

They measured omega 3 fatty acids blood levels from the mother at 28 weeks pregnancy and 3 months after delivery and correlated them with blood fatty acid levels in infants at 3, 6, and 12 months of age, as well as with problem-solving ability in infants at 6 and 12 months of age.

The omega 3 fatty acids status of pregnant women was found to be positively correlated with the problem-solving ability of 12-month-old infants, even after accounting for easily misinterpreted factors such as maternal education, which was used as a proxy for socioeconomic status. They also found that omega 3 fatty acids status in 3-month-old infants was positively correlated with problem-solving ability at 12 months of age. 

They conclude that these results reinforce the importance of pregnant or lactating women getting adequate omega 3 fatty acids in their diet or from other sources.

To reduce the risk of delivering a preterm infant

One study found that supplementation with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy reduced the risk of delivering a preterm infant (<37 weeks) by 11% (25 studies, 10,184 participants) and the risk of early preterm birth (<34 weeks) by 42% (9 studies, 5,184 participants) compared with no supplementation.

A baby can have enough weight

More than 30 years ago, scientists reported on how women in the Faroe Islands who consumed omega-3 fatty acids seafood in their diet had longer pregnancies and their children had higher birth weights than children in the Danish mainland.

As we mentioned above, when you take omega 3 fatty acids enough, you may reduce the risk of delivering a preterm infant, and a baby can stay in you enough. Therefore, your baby can have enough weight when he/she is born.

To help alleviate postpartum depression

An otherwise pregnancy-related role for omega-3 fatty acids is to help alleviate postpartum depression, as outlined in a 2017 psychoanalysis by Lin et al. Postpartum depression is gaining recognition due to its negative effects on both the mother and the child, and this study further reinforces the importance of consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation.

How many omega 3 fatty acids should I take?

The recommended requirement for women during pregnancy is 500 mg per day, either from a diet of fatty fish or other foods, beverages, or dietary supplements fortified with DHA.

Considering these findings, the authors concluded that 500 to 1,000 mg of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA per day, plus an additional 500 mg minimum of DHA per day, would be most effective.

Conclusion

Omega-3 fatty acids support proper maternal or fetal health and is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Currently, it is recommended that pregnant women consume a minimum of 500 mg of DHA omega-3 per day. However, only a very limited number of women consume the recommended level, and if you are already pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, good fats, and proteins.

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