As parents, we want to give our babies the best start possible. That's where prenatal DHA supplements come in. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a critical role in your baby’s healthy development.

In this article, we're going to break down the science behind DHA. Our goal is to help you understand why a separate DHA supplement is important to take alongside your prenatal vitamins, and how it can give your baby a strong nutritional start in life!


The science behind DHA: omega-3 fatty acids

DHA, also known as docosahexaenoic acid, is a vital omega-3 fatty acid that our bodies need but can't produce sufficiently. So it’s something we need to obtain through diet and/or supplements. DHA is involved in various bodily functions and becomes especially significant in pregnancy.


DHA: a key building block for brain development, vision, and nervous system

Often called 'brain food,' DHA makes a substantial impact on cognitive growth. As a chief structural element of the brain and retina, it constitutes a large part of our brain's gray matter. This potent fatty acid is indispensable for proper neuron growth and function, so it impacts the following key areas:

      • Brain development: Sufficient DHA during pregnancy is associated with enhanced cognitive function, memory, and attention span in children. Research indicates that children born to mothers with higher DHA levels often perform better on cognitive tests and have fewer behavioral issues later on.
      • Vision: DHA is a critical part of the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. It's vital for the growth and upkeep of healthy vision. Studies suggest that infants with higher DHA levels typically exhibit better visual acuity and overall eye health.
      • Nervous system support: DHA maintains the integrity and performance of nerve cells by playing a role in neurotransmission, the process by which nerve cells communicate. Adequate DHA intake during pregnancy can promote the healthy development of the baby's nervous system, supporting motor skills and coordination.

This omega-3 fatty acid has an incredible influence on our babies' development, and that’s why it is necessary in any prenatal supplement regimen.


The link between DHA and reduced risk of preterm birth and low birth weight

Studies have also found that mothers with higher DHA levels during pregnancy are less likely to deliver their babies prematurely, which is a leading cause of infant mortality and long-term health problems.

Furthermore, DHA has been associated with a lower risk of low birth weight, promoting healthy growth and development right from the start.

When choosing a prenatal DHA supplement, you want the best for both you and your baby. Obtaining enough DHA through diet alone can be challenging, particularly for vegetarians and vegans. Thankfully, we provide options for different dietary needs.


DHA sourced from fish oil or algae?

Our Mama Bird® Prenatal DHA comes in two varieties — one sourced from premium fish oil, and a plant-based formula made from algae. Our products also undergo rigorous third-party testing for purity and potency, and they meet the highest standards of quality and safety.


Frequently asked questions

Why doesn't Best Nest Wellness include DHA in its prenatal multivitamin?

DHA is an incredibly important nutrient for your baby's brain function, vision, and nervous system. Most prenatal vitamins don't provide optimal DHA sources or amounts for brain health, and often use synthetic ethyl esters, which can breakdown into ethanol in your body. To solve this, we put our DHA in separate softgels. Prenatal DHA uses triglyceride oil from anchovies and Vegan Prenatal DHA uses purified algae oil. Unlike synthetics, neither of these high-quality ingredients can be compressed. Taking a DHA along with a multivitamin like our Prenatal Multi+ ensures expectant moms receive important vitamins and the right amount of DHA.

What are prenatal vitamins, and why are they important?

Prenatal vitamins are supplements containing essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy and optimal fetal development.

What is DHA, and why is it important to take alongside prenatal vitamins?

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid vital for brain, eye, and nervous system development in babies.

Can I get enough DHA through my diet alone?

While it's possible, many people find it challenging to consistently obtain adequate DHA through diet alone.

Are there vegetarian or vegan sources of DHA?

Yes, algae-based supplements offer a plant-based DHA source suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Can DHA help prevent preterm births and low birth weight?

Research suggests that adequate DHA intake may reduce the risk of preterm births and low birth weight.

Research suggests that adequate DHA intake may reduce the risk of preterm births and low birth weight.

Ideally, start taking your prenatal vitamins with a separate DHA supplement at least three months before conception, and continue throughout pregnancy.

Is DHA beneficial for breastfeeding?

Yes, DHA supports the baby's ongoing brain, eye, and nervous system development during breastfeeding.