Postpartum depression and DHA

A mother smiles as she cradles her newborn infant.
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Just as daily calorie intake must rise for pregnancy, daily recommended intake of DHA also increases. By eating about 300 mg. DHA per day, the pregnant woman helps her fetus develop a healthy brain and eyes. Research shows that postpartum depression can be alleviated with the addition of DHA supplements. On average, pregnant and nursing women eat even less DHA on average than healthy adults do, even though their body requires three times more DHA. When a pregnant woman’s intake of essential fatty acids is minimal, all available DHA goes to the developing fetus. The mother is left to deal with mood swings, irritability, and quite possibly, depression.

Everyone needs to be sure to get enough essential fatty acids in their diet, for their own mental health and cardiovascular health, and pregnant women need even more DHA. Doctors recommend two servings of small cold water fish per week. The larger and longer-lived the fish, the more chance for a build-up of toxic mercury in the meat. Also, try to eat walnuts regularly, because they have been isolated as the nut that contains the most omega-3 content38. They look like a brain, and they help your brain. Another recommended source of essential fatty acids is “free range meat” available by special order over the internet, or in your local health food store.

38. “California Walnuts. Super Food. Super Source of Omega-3s.”