Effects and ways of supplementing DHA for pregnant women

For pregnant women, many large-scale system studies over the years have found that pregnant women are supplemented with DHA which will help prevent common conditions in pregnant women such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes. , Postpartum depression … Resistance and cardiovascular activity of pregnant women also increased when DHA was supplemented during pregnancy. In order for the fetus to be smart and smart right from the womb, the pregnant woman must know the information about DHA supplementation, thereby helping the baby to have an effective brain development.

What is DHA?

DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic acid, a long-chain unsaturated fatty acid belonging to the Omega-3 group. DHA accounts for a quarter of the brain fat, which is very high in the gray matter of the brain and retina, and is part of the structure of nerve cell membranes. Brain”.

DHA creates the sensitivity of neurons, increases the elasticity of brain cells, nerve cell membranes, helps to transmit information quickly and accurately. DHA is essential for the formation of neurons, transporting Glucose, the “staple food” of the brain. DHA is also needed for the complete development of eye function, the perfect development of the nervous system, 93% of retinal cells are made up of DHA.

The role of DHA supplements

DHA is an unsaturated fatty acid in the Omega – 3 group. This is a non-synthesized fatty acid, must be supplemented from external foods.

DHA plays an important role in the body, they participate in the formation of nerve cells, eyes, in which DHA participates in forming up to 65% of retinal cells (eyes) and 20% of gray matter in the brain.

According to scientists, if pregnant women fully supplement DHA during pregnancy, their nervous system, IQ and eyesight will be better after birth.

In addition, the addition of pregnant DHA during pregnancy helps to stabilize the weight of the fetus, minimize premature birth or malnourished children. In addition, babies will grow faster than their peers when supplemented with this nutrient from the womb.

If adequate DHA supplementation, pregnant women will prevent the risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, postpartum depression, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

How to supplement DHA for pregnant women?

Like other micronutrients, DHA can be supplemented through the following simple ways:

Through the daily diet: The Creator has given people a lot of natural foods, of which, there are many types derived from plants as well as animals as the main source of DHA-rich materials. Pregnant women can get DHA supplements through dishes made from daily food.

Supplementing with multivitamins: The main ingredient in indispensable multivitamins is DHA and EPA – 2 nutrients that are considered to be the most important for children’s development. Daily diet may not meet the needs of the fetus’ DHA needs, so pregnant women should use more multivitamins products, which help provide enough DHA and other micronutrients that babies need, good for the formation and development of the fetus later.

When should DHA be supplemented?

As recommended by the World Health Organization, supplementation with DHA is essential during pregnancy. Supplement at least 200mg including DHA and EPA daily, especially during the third trimester to help your child develop better brain.

First trimester: DHA supplementation through daily nutritious foods combined with multivitamins containing DHA, EPA, is a premise to help children build brain and reduce the risk of premature birth or symptoms preeclampsia.

2nd trimester: This is the period when the fetus begins to perfect the body, the child’s brain develops strongly and continuously, so it is indispensable for the role of DHA in these 3 months.

3rd trimester: This is the last period of pregnancy, pregnant women should maintain a healthy diet and rest. This period is considered to be the most powerful brain development period, so, should take more DHA supplements, pregnant women can consult a doctor to be able to provide enough DHA needed during this period. .

Additional sources of DHA from food

Because the body cannot synthesize DHA itself, pregnant women can supplement DHA through available food sources such as:


Not only is it rich in protein, eggs are also a great source of DHA supplements, especially in newly laid eggs, which can provide up to 57mg of DHA. There are many dishes that pregnant women can make from eggs to add to their daily menu.

Egg yolks contain a lot of DHA which is good for fetal brain. To ensure the safety and absorption of the best nutrients, mothers should eat eggs when they are fully cooked. Do not eat raw eggs or peach eggs because pregnant women can have diarrhea during pregnancy.


Fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are rich in DHA, in which salmon provides the highest DHA content, of 170g salmon has about 2000 – 3000mg DHA. Pregnant women need to be very careful, need to choose the types of fish to ensure safety, no heavy metal residues, avoid using fish such as sharks, swordfish, … because it has high heavy metal content, Toxic nerve cells of the fetus.

The mother dishes can be processed from fish such as sauteed salmon, carp porridge, braised tuna, etc.Nutrition experts recommend that pregnant women eat fish only in moderation. 300g a week is best.

Kinds of bean

Beans are rich in energy, protein, fiber. Legumes like beans, soybeans, etc. are also good sources of DHA, in which soy products such as soy milk, tofu also help supplement ALA (Alpha Linoleic Acid) – a precursor. of DHA.

Green vegetables

Many green vegetables like spinach, kale, etc. also help provide additional DHA content. In addition, these vegetables also contain Alpha Linoleic Acid, which helps synthesize EPA and DHA for the body. Using green vegetables on the daily menu both helps to supplement DHA and essential micronutrients, and helps improve the digestive system better thanks to the high fiber content of green vegetables.

Pregnant women should note: Should choose to buy and eat clean vegetables, with clear food safety and hygiene origin to avoid affecting the baby.


Cashews, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, peanuts, etc. are rich in omega-3 (DHA / EPA) good for children’s brain development. Pregnant women can use as snacks, used in the form of dry or nut milk, …

These are indispensable foods during pregnancy, helping mothers stay healthy and smart. In addition to DHA, walnuts, almonds, etc. also contain more fiber to reduce constipation in pregnant women during 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Milk for pregnant women

Pregnant women should drink about 1-2 glasses of milk a day to replenish nutrients for the body!

Breastmilk helps mothers supplement the amount of DHA necessary for their babies to be healthy and grow quickly. If pregnant milk cannot be consumed, pregnant women can substitute it with pasteurized fresh milk, whey or soy milk. If you do not know which milk is good for pregnant women, you should learn more about the best types of milk currently used by mothers.

These are DHA-rich food groups for pregnant women, in addition to another way to supplement DHA for pregnant women is to use DHA medicine for pregnant women.

The note when supplementing DHA for pregnant women

DHA supplementation as well as other micronutrients greatly affect the health of the fetus, so when using DHA supplements or foods, pregnant women should note the following:

  • Do not use with drinks such as coffee, tea, as this can reduce the effectiveness of additional, even cause unwanted consequences.
  • Consult your doctor for advice on the appropriate dosage and dosage for DHA supplements
  • Should choose multivitamins products containing all necessary vitamins and micronutrients such as DHA, EPA, calcium, magnesium, copper, folate, iron, vitamins A, D, C, B, …
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