Nutrition is the basic requirement of every human. A well-balanced diet including all nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals contribute to the growth and development, and energy production. The human body requires these nutrients in a substantial amount regularly so that it can carry out all the processes smoothly. Their requirements dramatically increase during pregnancy as the mother-to-be must support not only her nutritional requirements of pregnancy but also has to supply all the essential nutrients to the growing baby.

The human body is capable of producing a range of fats however this isn’t the same for Omega-3 Fatty Acids (polyunsaturated fats). These are the fatty acids which the body must outsource from diet or supplements (pregnancy vitamins with Omega-3). These essential fatty acids are a fundamental part of the cell membrane. There are three fatty acids primarily which are:

  1. Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)
  2. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
  3. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Natural sources of ALA include plant oils (canola oils, soybean, and flaxseed). A person is required to consume a variety of seafood for DHA and EPA. This is a challenge for vegetarian people as they can’t consume seafood. Thus, they need pregnancy supplements else they will face Omega deficiency. DHA and EPA are known to be the most biologically active Omegas.

The eye (retina) and the brain contain high levels of DHA. DHA is necessary for the developing brain, which within the first two years of life accumulates significant quantities of it. The brain and nervous system produce very high levels of DHA, compared with the rest of the body. Omega-3 supplies enough calories for energy. These fatty acids are involved in several functions of the body including the endocrine and immune system and also maintain the functioning of blood vessels, lungs, heart, etc.

What are the advantages of consuming Omega-3 during pregnancy?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids should be an essential part of the maternal diet. These essential fatty acids are involved in various important functions such as controlling blood pressure, reducing triglycerides (body fats), inhibiting inflammation, and may also lower the level of LDL cholesterol. Omega-3 serves as building blocks of the brain and retina of the baby. These fatty acids are also likely to contribute to eliminating the chances of perinatal and postnatal depression and determining the length of gestation.

Expectant mothers ensure that they are getting enough DHA in their diet for a healthy pregnancy. In India, most of the edible oils contain high Omega-6 content (soybean oil, sunflower oil) however, the consumption of Omega-3 and Omega-6 have to be balanced. From the onset of the third trimester to the first two years of the baby’s life, the brain develops rapidly. During this time, the retinal and brain tissues contain DHA in abundance. That’s the reason, DHA is critically required during pregnancy.

Importance of Omega-3 for the babies 

Omega-3 may help the baby with a better sleep cycle, prevent asthma and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The sleep cycle of the baby is largely connected with the normal outcomes of growth and development in the later stages. Omega-3 Fatty Acids have several benefits for the babies including:

  • Important for the eye and brain development of the baby.
  • Important for the normal cognitive development of the baby.
  • Prevent the baby from getting eczema in later stages of life.
  • Stronger and healthier bones.
  • Support the baby’s heart functioning.
  • Healthy birth weight.

As the baby grows, starts learning and understanding, most of the cognitive development is done in the presence of these fatty acids. The learning skills don’t just limit to there but continue throughout. Omega-3 Fatty Acids contribute largely to the social and verbal skills of the developmental process including motor functions as well.

The most prominent fat found in the brain is DHA which may have a connection with better attention span in children. Omega-3 may also eliminate the situations of postnatal and antenatal depressions. This can be due to the smooth secretion of serotonin (a hormone known to stabilize mood and feelings) allowed by healthier cell membranes. However, this area is still under observation and requires detailed studies to establish concrete facts.

Importance of Omega-3 for pregnant women 

Consumption of Omega-3 FAs during pregnancy maintains the production of prostaglandins which are required in carrying out several physiological processes such as regulating nerve transmission, blood clotting, allergic responses, blood pressure, etc. The production of these prostaglandins depends on the type of fatty acids consumed. Also, their production too depends on dietary intake which may lead to imbalanced production. Omega-3 has a role in producing these prostaglandins that’s why these fatty acids have several advantages for example reducing the chances of heart problems. Not to forget that these fatty acids are essential for cognitive functions.

  • Prevent preterm labour.
  • Support a healthy birth weight.
  • Support the mood of the pregnant woman in the postpartum phase.

Why are most women Omega 3 deficient?

A large portion of the Indian population don’t get Omega 3 in their diet due to several factors, lack of knowledge being one of them. Since most of these fatty acids are derived from non-vegetarian diet, the vegetarian mother-to-be isn’t able to get enough of them through the diets.

When should a pregnant woman take an Omega-3 supplement?

From the first trimester itself, the brain of the Foetus starts to grow. With several nerve connections and a high concentration of fat in the brain, Omega-3 can aid in the developmental process throughout the pregnancy. By the time it is the third trimester, the growth and development of the brain reaches to the maximum. Thus, the pregnant woman must consume Omega-3 throughout her pregnancy and continue up till 18 months post-delivery.

How can a pregnant woman increase Omega-3 intake?

Indian gynecologists’ recommend a dual approach of a well-balanced diet and pregnancy supplements to the pregnant woman so that deficiency can be avoided. This approach not only satisfies the nutritional demands of the mother-to-be but also fulfils the demands of the baby.

It is recommended to consume a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

Good sources of Omega-3 fats:

  • Fish & fish oils
  • Plant oils (flaxseed, mustard, soybean, rice bran, walnut sesame, etc.)
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Rajma, urad dal, lobiya
  • Bajra: in moderation
  • Seaweed and algae

Which is the best Omega-3 supplement available for Indian pregnant women?

When it comes to planning which pregnancy supplement should a pregnant woman choose, she often gets confused. Lack of knowledge also adds a lot to this state. Most of the time, she ends up buying international prenatal pills available online. However, she needs a prenatal supplement which is exclusively designed and formulated for her and her baby.

TrimacareTM by PlusPlus Lifesciences is India’s most advanced prenatal supplement which is designed and formulated by a team of doctors, pharmacologists, and nutritionists following the guidelines of WHO and ICMR. TrimacareTM comes in 3 different packs for each trimester, as the pregnancy needs are unique in each trimester, and it provides all the 20+ nutrients required by a pregnant woman and her child holistically and to supplement the needs perfectly.

TrimacareTM contains a vegetarian source of Omega-3 derived from deep sea algae (Did you know that even the fish derives its Omega from consuming algae?) Omega-3 (EPA: DHA) is present in the golden ratio of 2:3 – most appropriate for the requirements of pregnancy. TrimacareTM’s Omega does not give any fishy smells, burps and does not have any harmful side effects.

TrimacareTM 1 (pregnancy multivitamins for the first trimester of pregnancy) contains 100 mg of Veg Omega-3 which is recommended by the leading gynaecologists of India.

TrimacareTM 2 (pregnancy multivitamins for the second trimester) & TrimacareTM 3 (pregnancy multivitamins for the third trimester) contain 200 mg of Veg Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

TrimacareTM is good for the mother and good for the baby. It can be introduced at any stage of pregnancy. It is a one stop solution which supplements all the micronutrient needs of pregnancy. Hence, there is no need to take multiple pills every day for different nutrients. It is made with natural, plant-based ingredients thus it is safe and chemical-free.

TrimacareTM is recommended by leading doctors of India. This pregnancy supplement is available both online (Amazon1mgFlipkart) and offline at your nearest chemist.