Are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon? If so, you've likely heard about the benefits of taking DHA and prenatal supplements to support a healthy pregnancy.
DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that plays a vital role in your baby's eyes and brain development during pregnancy.* Prenatal multivitamins, on the other hand, help ensure you get all the essential vitamins and minerals you and your growing baby need.
These two are both important to support and maintain a healthy pregnancy, but taking them together might not be the best way to get the full benefits of these essential nutrients. That's why we're here to dive into the benefits of taking them not together but separately.
You should feel confident in your supplement choices during this exciting time, and we've got some great information to share with you. So, let's dive in!
Importance of DHA During Pregnancy
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 that can play a critical role in the growth and development of your baby's brain, eyes, and central nervous system.* Though fetal brain development continues during the first two years of life, the most vital development occurs in the first weeks of pregnancy.* DHA also supports the development of your baby's brain stem — a crucial part of the central nervous system responsible for vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, and sleep-wake cycles.*
Dara Godfrey, a registered dietician, says that getting adequate levels of DHA also helps ensure a healthy birth weight and supports your mood and well-being during postpartum.* A study also found that taking 1,000 mg of DHA a day during pregnancy has been linked to a lower risk of preterm birth.*
How to Get Enough DHA During Pregnancy
You can get DHA from fatty or oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon. Experts recommend a pregnant person consume 8-12 ounces of seafood and low-mercury fish per week to meet adequate levels of DHA. If you're allergic to fish or just hate its fishy aftertaste, you can include DHA-fortified foods in your diet, such as fortified eggs, yogurt, milk, or orange juice. You can also try adding flaxseed or chia seeds into your meals, as these are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which can be converted to DHA in the body.
There's also a wide range of DHA supplement options that your healthcare provider can recommend, especially if you're not getting adequate amounts of DHA from dietary sources alone. These options include fish oil supplements and algae-based supplements for vegetarian moms. If you're taking blood pressure medications or blood thinners, it's super important to first check with your OB, as fish oil supplements may interact with these medications, potentially leading to adverse effects such as increased bleeding risk or changes in blood pressure*. Your doctor or OBGYN can provide personalized guidance on the appropriate dosage of DHA or alternative supplements to ensure your safety and the healthy development of your baby.
Benefits of Prenatal Vitamin During Pregnancy
Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated with the right balance of nutrients to fill in the nutritional gaps your body needs to support you and your growing baby. Prenatal supplements typically contain an extra dose of vitamins and minerals such as iron, which supports blood health, or folate (or folic acid) to support the baby's spinal cord and brain development and prevent neural tube defects.*
Incorporating prenatal vitamins into your daily routine not only offers health benefits but also helps alleviate unpleasant symptoms of morning sickness (thanks to vitamin B6!) Morning sickness is common during pregnancy, so it's best to opt for electrolyte-infused prenatal vitamins like Root'd to keep you and your baby hydrated and help replenish lost electrolytes after vomiting.* We also recommend taking your prenatal with food or before bed to ease nausea and lower the chance of acid reflux.
Can You Take DHA and Prenatal Together?
While it might seem convenient and practical to take a prenatal vitamin with DHA, there are two significant benefits to taking prenatal and DHA supplements separately.
1. Adequate Intake
According to research, about 80% of women in the US have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids during their childbearing years due to various reasons such as chronic illness, diet, and genetics, to name a few. So, taking a DHA supplement before pregnancy is highly recommended to ensure that your body has adequate amounts of DHA before conception.*
While some prenatal supplements contain omega-3 DHA, it is often in lower doses than what is required to support fetal growth and visual development.* Our nutritionists at Root'd strongly believe that DHA should be taken separately as it's quite difficult to get the therapeutic dose that would actually be effective into one formula, without cutting something else out! Prenatal gummies, for example, do not contain iron, an essential mineral for blood health, especially during pregnancy.* On the pill side, combining everything you truly need into one pill would result in something so big that it would likely only be suitable for an elephant 🐘!
Taking DHA as a stand-alone supplement allows for more precise dosing and can ensure that an adequate amount of DHA and other key vitamins are absorbed and utilized by your body.
2. Better Absorption
DHA is a delicate nutrient that can easily oxidize or break down when exposed to certain conditions or other compounds. Some nutrients in prenatal vitamins, such as calcium and iron, can compete for absorption and interfere with the bioavailability of DHA. Taking DHA separately from prenatal vitamins helps reduce these interactions, promoting better absorption of DHA and other essential nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy.
Remember, every pregnancy journey is unique, and it's vital to consult with your healthcare provider to find the best supplement routine for you and your baby. Always follow the recommended dosages and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have during your pregnancy.
Want to give Root’d Prenatal a try? With free shipping and our 100% love guarantee, we got you covered with all the essential vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and probiotics you + baby need to help you develop beautifully.Use code HealthyBaby for 15% off your first order @ https://rootd.com . DHA sold separately (ask us for a recco!), for obvious reasons 😉