Breastfeeding A to ZNutrition During Pregnancy

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for your baby’s brain and eye development. (1)  These types of fats are found naturally in many kinds of fish and in some nuts and seeds.  The current adequate intake recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences, Food & Nutrition Board is 1400 mg per day in pregnancy and 1300 mg per day while breastfeeding. (4)

The Food & Nutrition Board, Institutes of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences gives two kinds of recommendations: “adequate intake” (AI) or a “daily recommended intake” (DRI).  An “adequate intake” recommendation is used when there isn’t a enough information to set firm intake guidelines, but the amount is thought to be what will maintain and protect health.   A DRI has enough research to support the amount suggested for age and life circumstance that most people need to stay health.

Two servings of 4-6 ounces of fish or shellfish per week, during your pregnancy can provide these important fatty acids. (2)(3)  Various seeds (flax, chia) and nuts (walnuts, pecans) contain omega-3 fatty acid as well.  Or think about discussing the need for supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids with your healthcare provider. (1)  See fish warning section.


  1. Loosemore, E, Dietary Intake of Long-Chained Polyunsaturated Omega-3 Fatty Acids During Pregnancy, Women’s Health & Reproductive Nutrition Report, Summer 2005, p 7.
  2. Position of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome, J. Acad of Nutr & Dietetics, 2014; 114:1101.
  3. American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology: Nutrition During Pregnancy, April 2015, Available at, Accessed Sept 26, 2015.
  4. Kleinman, RE, Greer FR, Pediatric Nutrition, 7th edition, Elk Grove Village, IL, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014, p 1355.