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How Omega 3 can help your pregnancy

Recently published information from The International Scientific Society ISFFAL supports the significant role of omega-3 for lowering preterm birth risk.

Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) ,which is not a sexy name, can be purchased in good quality Pharmacies or health food stores. Read on for why Pre-term birth is to be avoided and the data behind the recommendations.

In the long term, premature birth may lead to the following complications:

  • Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that can be caused by infection, inadequate blood flow or injury to a newborn's developing brain either early during pregnancy or while the baby is still young and immature.

  • Impaired learning. Premature babies are more likely to lag behind their full-term counterparts on various developmental milestones. Upon school age, a child who was born prematurely might be more likely to have learning disabilities.

  • Vision problems. Premature infants may develop retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that occurs when blood vessels swell and overgrow in the light-sensitive layer of nerves at the back of the eye (retina). Sometimes the abnormal retinal vessels gradually scar the retina, pulling it out of position. When the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye, it's called retinal detachment, a condition that, if undetected, can impair vision and cause blindness.

  • Hearing problems. Premature babies are at increased risk of some degree of hearing loss. All babies will have their hearing checked before going home.

  • Dental problems. Premature infants who have been critically ill are at increased risk of developing dental problems, such as delayed tooth eruption, tooth discoloration and improperly aligned teeth.

  • Behavioral and psychological problems. Children who experienced premature birth may be more likely than full-term infants to have certain behavioral or psychological problems, as well as developmental delays.

  • Chronic health issues. Premature babies are more likely to have chronic health issues — some of which may require hospital care — than are full-term infants. Infections, asthma and feeding problems are more likely to develop or persist. Premature infants are also at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a daily adequate intake of EPA and DHA of 250 mg and an extra 100-200 mg daily of DHA during pregnancy. However, this intake recommendation for pregnant women (as with those of other similar organisations and authorities across the globe) is lower than current evidence suggests is necessary to prevent preterm births. Now, a new ISSFAL statement is hoped to highlight the importance omega-3s for pregnant women in lowering their risk of preterm birth.

“Women who are low in omega-3 fatty acids will benefit most from omega-3 LCPUFA supplementation to reduce their risk of early birth. In such cases, supplementation with a total of about 1000 mg of DHA plus EPA is effective at reducing risk of early birth, preferably with supplementation commencing before 20 weeks’ gestation.” -ISSFAL 2022

Read the full ISSFAL statement here


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