How Much DHA Do You Really Need During Pregnancy?



This is a little complicated. Currently, there’s an established daily nutritional requirement for ALA, per the National Academies’ Food and Nutrition Board: 1,100 milligrams per day for adult women and 1,600 milligrams for adult men. (To put that number into perspective, a serving of walnuts has 2,600 milligrams of ALA.)

Technically, there’s no established recommendation for DHA dosage, although as nutrition scientist Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN explains, “the desire for EPA and DHA to be assigned their own, established dietary reference intakes by the National Academies has been a desire that researchers, doctors, and nutritionists alike have shared for many years.”

Ferira goes on to say that, “while we wait on that recommendation to be issued, we can share what the science and clinical consensus lie.” Speaking of clinical consensus, doctors generally recommend that pregnant individuals consume 200 milligrams of DHA a day, says Greves. You can find DHA in certain prenatal multivitamins or as a separate, stand-alone omega-3 supplement, too.

On the food front, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that people eat at least two servings (i.e., eight to 12 ounces) of fish or shellfish a week for their EPA and DHA content before getting pregnant, while pregnant, and while breastfeeding. 

In fact, the conclusive evidence from a number of respected organizations recommends adequate daily DHA intake during pregnancy. “From the WHO and European perinatal health associations to the esteemed ACOG and research dating back 20-plus years, clinical consensus aligns at a minimum of 200 to 300 milligrams of omega-3 DHA intake daily during pregnancy and lactation,” Ferira previously shared.

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