What DHA vitamins do all pregnant moms need

The range and benefits of DHA vitamins for a healthy pregnancy

By Bettie Bransfield
What DHA vitamins do all pregnant moms need

The benefits of DHA Vitamins for pregnancy

DHA is listed as one of the top 5 important nutrients in a supplement to have when you are pregnant. So, what is DHA? DHA is docosahexaenoic acid and is usually found in prenatal vitamin supplements. Docosahexaenoic acid is a type of fat (omega-3 fatty acid) that helps with development and growth. It can be found in supplemental vitamins, baby formula and is used for treating type 2 diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids provide numerous health benefits such as improving cholesterol levels and impacting the risk of heart disease. 

During pregnancy, omega-3 fatty acids will best impact you in your third trimester when the growth of your baby’s brain is at its peak.  DHA is key to the development of tissue for the eyes and nerves but is considered the nutrition for the brain.

Studies have shown that in children whose mother took the recommended dose of DHA supplements had better eye-hand coordination. And another study showed that if the mother continued her DHA vitamins after pregnancy and during breastfeeding that four-year-olds scored better on IQ tests. Taking omega-3 has also thought to help increase birth weight in the baby.

DHA Vitamin C

As we all know, Vitamin C is good for everyone, not just pregnant women. Vitamin C is known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid. Vitamin C has been used for treating scurvy and is still considered an excellent means of preventing the common cold. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is safe since an excess amount is not absorbed and is excreted in your urine.

Prenatal vitamins are specially designed for pregnant women to meet their bodies needs as well as those of the unborn baby. Basically, these vitamins help fill the gap between your daily needs and your pregnancy needs. Health food will also help will this gap not just the vitamins. 

There are hundreds of prenatal vitamins on the market today, and each variety has its own formula with different levels for the vitamins so confirm you read the labels. Vitamin C is an ingredient included in most prenatal vitamins since it helps with the absorption of iron and helps with your immune system.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it can help in breaking down damaging free radicals that are produced by your body to break down food or when tobacco smoke is inhaled. You can hardly overdose on taking too much vitamin C, but there are some side effects if you really do. These side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

Below are 2 recommended DHA supplement with Vitamin C:

1. Perfect Prenatal™ Multivitamin

Perfect Prenatal™ Multivitamin | New Chapter

2. PreNatal | vitafusion™

PreNatal | vitafusion™

DHA Vitamin D

Vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.  It is not easily acquired, and unfortunately, many people believe that we can absorb right amounts of vitamin D from sunlight when actuality you cannot absorb enough vitamin from the sun. Vitamin D is essential because it helps regulate the balance of calcium and phosphorus levels in the body which impacts our bones.

Vitamin D is known to help with the absorption of calcium into the bones. Therefore, it is essential for proper bone growth for both you and your baby. Vitamin D is also known to improve the health of one’s heart while helping to prevent heart attacks.

The actual Vitamin D supplement can come in two forms. The two types of vitamin D are D2 and D3. D2 is the form made by animals and D3 is the form made by animals. D2 is Ergocalciferol which is the vegetarian form while cholecalciferol is the animal form (fish liver oil) of the vitamin. D3 is Cholecalciferol is the form that is most easily absorbed by the body.

Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in many Americans and can cause osteoporosis in women if not corrected. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is depression, constant fatigue, sleep disorders, and possible bone pain. If the deficiency is not severe, it can quickly be improved with vitamin D rich foods. Again, check with your OB/ GYN if you intend to take this during pregnancy.

Below are two recommended DHA Vitamin D:

1. SmartyPants Prenatal Complete

Expect More From Your Gummy Prenatal Vitamins

2. NaturaMade Prenatal Multi+DHA

Prenatal Vitamins with DHA Liquid Softgels

DHA Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a type of antioxidant that can be found in foods like nuts, Broccoli, and Blueberries. It is also linked to healthy skin and eyes as well as helping your immune system. It is also known for helping with cell health by protecting cell membranes from damage. The benefit to your unborn child is that it reduces the risk of your child getting asthma or other respiratory issues later in life.

In general Vitamin E is known for helping with cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is vital for the function of nerves, cells, and hormones. You will also find that it is in many beauty products promoting healthy skin. In your pregnancy, vitamin E is vital for all the factors above but even for helping brain and neurological development that begins at conception of your baby.

One thing to be cautious of is the taking of Vitamin E with cholesterol-lowering drugs or niacin. Vitamin E has been known to decrease the effectiveness of these medications. It may also impact how cyclosporine or blood thinners are absorbed by the body. Consult with your physician regarding this. 

There are two other essential aspects of Vitamin E. One is that is can be used before pregnancy. Vitamin E is important in reproduction not just during pregnancy. Using Vitamin E can help with the regulation of prolactin which helps a woman's reproductive system. It can also be used in topical form to help stretch marks. Stretch marks occur when the collagen fibers in your skin stretch and vitamin E can help with the elasticity of the skin cutting down on those stretch marks.


Below are two recommended DHA Vitamin E:

1. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Vegetarian Multivitamin Supplement

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Vegetarian Multivitamin Supplement with Folate, Iron, Probiotics & Ginger

2. Prenatal One

Prenatal One™ Multivitamin


Prenatal vitamins should include the following: Folate, iron, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin K, and B12. Prenatal vitamins have different levels of ingredients than daily vitamins, and they are specifically targeted for pregnancy. For example, Folic acid is highly recommended for pregnant women since it helps protects against birth defects.

Iron levels are also very different in these prenatal vitamins than it is in your daily vitamins. Iron is a key ingredient to help support your baby's development by preventing things such as anemia.

Your baby is going to get all its nutrients from you, but you will need more than you did before your pregnancy. 

You can get prenatal vitamins from the internet or local grocery store. Many doctors’ offices also sell prenatal vitamins. But be aware not all prenatal vitamins include DHA so talk with your doctor to discuss when you should start taking prenatal vitamins (many say before pregnancy) and which ones will be best for you and your unborn baby. And don’t forget to ask your doctor about continuing the vitamins during breastfeeding.