Fish sticks are not the right source of DHAIf you’re like most women, you know the importance of getting the right vitamins and minerals while you’re expecting.  You may even have heard of the Omega 3 DHA and know that you need to get it to help baby’s brain, eyes and nerves develop properly.

But how exactly do you get it?  Deep-fried fish sticks are definitely not the answer!  You need to get enough dietary DHA for both your body’s needs and that of your baby, so you need to eat:

  • two 3-ounce can of anchovies, herring, or sardines
  • three 6-ounce of white albacore tuna
  • two 3-ounce servings of mackerel
  • seven 3-ounce servings of flounder or sole (the kind in fried fish and chips)

Now, if you’re worried about mercury from fish, or you’re concerned about the FDA’s recommendation to limit fish intake to 12 ounces a week while pregnant, or even if you just plain don’t like fish, it can be hard to reach the recommended levels of DHA through food.

If that’s the case, look to an Omega 3 Supplement.  There are lots of Omega 3 supplements on the market, but the most common problem most pregnant women have with them?  Fishy burp-up!  It’s not bad enough that you’re having trouble with digestion or even feeling nauseous – now you feel like you just kissed Flipper!

Fishy burp-up is caused by fish oil that has started to turn rancid.  When it reacts with acid in your stomach, the results can be the burps of indigestion.

One solution?  Powdered DHA supplements.  There is no chance of the fish oil getting rancid if it has already been dried.

You may think that since you eat food that has been fortified with Omega 3s – eggs, margarine, peanut butter – that you’re getting enough DHA.  But the truth is, these products contain very little DHA.  A Smart Balance Omega-3 Enriched Egg, for example, contains just 32 mg of DHA.  That’s a lot of eggs to eat every day to get to 250 mg!

Flax seed or other plant sources produce a different form of Omega 3 – ALA or alpha-linolenic acid – rather than DHA or docosahexaenoic acid.  The body has to convert ALA to a usable form of DHA in order for you to get the benefits – and we don’t do this very efficiently.  So stick to getting your DHA in its native form.

*Note: although your grandmother may swear by cod liver oil (after all, that’s what her mother gave her!) you should be aware that most cod liver oil contains enough Vitamin A to possibly induce toxicity during pregancy.  Go with fish oil sourced from sardines, tuna, or other fish.