Pregnant women want the best nutrition for themselves and their babies, but many doctors are finding that some important pre-natal information is not being passed on to women during those critical nine months.
According to a recent study, only 31 percent of women 18 and over understand which vitamins and nutrients are important to pre-natal health.
The national center for health statistics reports that birth rates are on the rise, and women are becoming more health conscious.
Most know that taking folic acids can prevent birth defects to the baby's spine, but what about the importance of omega 3 fatty acids like DHA?
Dr. Donnica Moore, women's health expert, says, "DHA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Mother's naturally pass DHA onto their growing babies through the placenta and through breast milk but additional DHA is essential during pregnancy and while nursing".
DHA is one of the essential building blocks of the brain. Doctors say it aids in the development of the eyes, nerves and the immune system, and may help increase thinking ability.
"Not only is DHA good for the developing baby, but it's been shown to help mothers even after the birth".
Women who start prenatal care early in their pregnancies tend to have fewer problems and deliver healthier babies. But think twice if you think the vitamins your doctor prescribed include DHA.
Chances are they do not.
"Unfortunately, doctors have so much to talk to pregnant women about during the visit that sometimes they forget to talk about the importance of DHA omega 3. And most women think that their prenatal vitamin includes everything that they need in fact most prenatal vitamins do not include DHA omega 3. "
With so many multi-vitamins on the shelves, how do you choose the right ones? Check the labels.
"We always recommend the best way to have a healthy pregnancy is to eat a lot of nutrient rich fresh foods and also take a prenatal supplement with DHA omega 3. That way you can make sure all your nutritional bases are covered,” says Fit Pregnancy editor Olessa Pindak.
Doctors say it's also important to get enough sleep, eat right and, most of all, enjoy your new baby.
Of course, it's always best to check with your doctor first before taking any vitamins during your pregnancy.
If you'd like information about the kind of vitamins or to find out more about DHA, check the links below.