Pregnancy: Role of Omega 3

Specific Health Concern 30 November 2018

Involved in the creation of cell membranes as well as that of hormones, omega 3 fatty acids play an essential role before, during and even after pregnancy. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles tend to lead to omega 3 deficiency. The omega 3 found in our diet is usually insufficient, especially for vegetarians or vegans, and the excess intake of omega 6 can disturb the process.

Before pregnancy: Male fertility

When expecting a baby, one of the firsts tests prescribed the doctor is a spermiogram. 

During this test, the number of spermatozoids will be counted and their morphology and mobility will also be analysed.

In a diet mainly consisting of fast food, the resulting nutritional imbalances between the different fatty acids can cause certain spermatozoid anomalies. They begin to ‘bulge’ and their mobility is significantly reduced, also reducing their chances of ‘meeting’ an egg. 

Luckily, this can be reversed – all you need is to take an omega 3 supplement over several months and the spermatozoids will soon recover their ability to fertilise!

During pregnancy

Omega 3, especially ADH, is also essential during pregnancy. 

  1. They reduce the risk of premature labour.
  2. They optimise foetal weight, avoiding delays in growth as well as foetal hyper trophy.  
  3. They are essential for the baby’s brain, retina and immune system development.  Mice who were tested and born from mothers who had a western style diet (omega 6 excess, omega 3 deficiency) appeared to have smaller brains, behavioural problems and anxiety when turning into adults. 
  4. They reduce the mother’s stress levels, helping the baby stay calm. Women who were more stressed during their final weeks of pregnancy appeared to give birth to more agitated babies, who also cried more often. In the long term, certain learning difficulties have also been proven.

After giving birth

For the mother, giving birth is a real ‘sporting challenge’ which can result in physical and even psychological fatigue.

Omega 3 enable a faster and better recovery after giving birth: 

  • They increase the speed of tissue repair and wound healing in cases of an episiotomy or caesarean. 
  • They encourage toxin elimination.
  • They limit the risk of phlebitis. 
  • They reduce the risk of post-natal depression. 


During pregnancy and breast-feeding, the baby is prioritised and therefore somewhat ‘steals’ the omega 3 from its mother: 

  • It forms extra fatty tissue.
  • And especially, during the last three months of pregnancy, the weight of its brain increases three to five times and is made of 60% fats.


Finally, omega 3 improves the quality of breast milk, protecting the baby against allergens, infections and excess weight gain.


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