Pregnant women need omega-3 to boost infant development
A new study has proven a direct correlation between dietary consumption of the omega-3 DHA and enhanced infant development.
The study, which was supervised by Universite Laval researchers and published in the Journal of Pediatrics, reveals DHA consumed during the last months of pregnancy boosts an infant's sensory, cognitive, and motor development.
The research team reached its conclusion by first measuring the amount of DHA concentration in the umbilical cord blood of 109 infants.
"DHA concentration in the umbilical cord is a good indicator of intra-uterine exposure to omega-3s during the last trimester of pregnancy, a crucial period for the development of retinal photoreceptors and neurons," said study supervisor Dr Eric Dewailly.
After testing the infants at six and 11 months, the researchers discovered visual acuity, cognitive development, and motor development were closely linked to DHA concentration in the umbilical cord blood at the time of their birth.
Renowned DHA expert Barbara S Levine, director of the first NIH-funded Nutrition Information Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, believes the study's findings support the overall significance of an expectant mother's diet.
"For years researchers and nutritional experts have studied the importance of DHA in a pregnant woman's diet and the resulting impact these essential nutrients have on the development of her fetus," said Dr Levine. "In addition to folic acid, which helps prevent the development of spinal bifida and other birth defects, it is necessary for expectant mother's to include DHA in their diets for brain and eye development."