The news that you are expecting a child is one of life’s most joyous occasions. You’re likely to experience a wide range of emotions — and questions!
Of course, you want to have a healthy pregnancy. Part of this comes down to diet, and as Haka Life Warriors who follow our blog regularly know, omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of any healthy diet. But there are many ways to reduce inflammation during pregnancy, and we’re here to offer a few quick pointers — because an inconvenience that you can minimize is an agitator you don’t have to worry about.
What causes inflammation during pregnancy
The causes of inflammation during pregnancy are similar to the causes of inflammation at any other point. The thing is, chronic stress can be higher during pregnancy, which can cause increased inflammation as the body’s natural response.
High levels of increased inflammation during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of mental illness or brain development issues in the baby, according to a study published by Oregon Health & Science University. “A study conducted by researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, is the first to establish a link between inflammation in pregnant women and the way the newborn brain is organized into networks,” the university noted, going on to say that “The data from mother and child show that differences in the levels of inflammatory markers are directly associated with differences in newborn brain communication, and later to working memory scores at age 2.”
Fortunately, the study noted that there are many treatment options available to track and minimize this risk (read more via the university’s website).
Omega-3 fatty acids and pregnancy
Omega-3s can help to minimize inflammation throughout the body, an important factor in minimizing pain and other discomforts that present themselves during this time. With doctor’s visits, advice from family members and friends, and tips from magazines and the web, you’re likely going to be inundated with information on how to best take care of yourself during pregnancy.
We aren’t the only ones who feel this way. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine and led by Drs. James Greenberg, Stacey Bell, and Wendy Van Ausdal recommend 650 mg per day of Omega-3 fatty acids. Of that 650 mg, 300 should be DHA.
For many women, a supplement can help them get the proper amounts of omega-3s on a daily basis. “Unfortunately, it is impossible for pregnant women to meet their omega-3 fatty acid requirements from omega-3-rich vegetable oils and 2 servings of seafood a week,” the study says. The good news is that an omega-3 supplement such as GLX3 can fill that gap — rounding out a sufficient daily dose of omega-3s during pregnancy.
Why are omega-3s so important during pregnancy?
Every human needs essential fatty acids as part of a healthy diet. During pregnancy, however, that need is increased. Pregnant women need to have steady amounts of prostaglandins, a hormone-like constituent that helps the body regulate blood pressure, allergic reactions, and nerve transmissions. Additionally, prostaglandins help both the kidney and gastrointestinal tract function properly.
“Prostaglandins are unique compounds because they have hormone-like effects,” according to Healthline.com. “That is, they influence reactions in the body when they’re present in certain tissues.”
They play a major role in inflammation and help expel the uterus lining. As such, prostaglandins can also be used by doctors to induce labor.
Other tips for how to minimize inflammation during pregnancy
Beyond monitoring your diet and omega-3 intakes, here are a few additional steps to help minimize inflammation during pregnancy.
- Avoid excess heat. This is key because your body can become overheated and/or dehydrated, and inflammation can happen as a result.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time. Proper rest and avoiding unnecessary strain to the body is very important during pregnancy. Inflammation happens naturally to offset pain, but if you can prevent that pain from happening in the first place, the inflammation won’t follow. Remember that extended periods of physical activity can cause unwanted strain on the body and result in increased inflammation. Remember to schedule rest periods in between your daily activities.
- Watch your intake of potassium and sodium. In particular, consume enough potassium (at least 2,000 milligrams per day, according to Healthline) and don’t over-consume sodium or salty foods (no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, according to whattoexpect.com). Check out our helpful article on 4 healthy foods to consume during pregnancy instead.
- Avoid Mercury. The problem with many fish oil supplements is that the fish may have high levels of mercury that can have a negative impact on the mother’s (and baby’s) health. This is particularly true for fish with a longer lifespan, as they spend more time in the water-absorbing the pollutants that may pollute their surroundings. With GLX3, you avoid both of these threats because our mussels are raised in safe, pristine waters off the east coast of New Zealand.
Remember that some inflammation during pregnancy is normal. There’s no need to panic if you experience slight amounts of swelling or discomfort. And as always, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to physical activity, diet, and workload. A healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy mother — and as a Haka Life Warrior, you’ve put yourself among a group of people that prioritize health and wellbeing.
We have plenty of dietary and lifestyle hints to help you along the way. You got this!
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