DHA During Pregnancy: Your Gift to Help Support Your Baby’s Brain Development

Are you getting this important nutrient to help support your baby’s development?

In recent years, a previously little-known fatty acid—docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—has gotten a great deal of attention as an important player in babies’ early development. What researchers have learned: Fatty acids, such as DHA, play an important role in brain growth. And you’re the DHA delivery agent for your baby while you’re pregnant. 

Lipids, or fats, make up about 60 percent of brain weight. These fats help build the cell membranes that protect neurons and enable the efficient transmission of nerve signals. Here’s what you need to know about getting DHA to help support your baby’s development. 

 

DHA Accretion in the Brain

Using MRIs, PET scans, and other brain-imaging techniques, researchers have determined that a baby’s neurons multiply most rapidly between months 4 and 7, by which time your baby’s brain has already produced most of the 100 billion neurons he’ll have at birth. At the same time, DHA accretion in the brain is rapid in the last trimester of pregnancy.