The 6 Best DHA Supplements for Pregnancy of 2024

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Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for the optimum progress and improvement of the newborn’s central nervous system, mind, and eyes, beginning within the first trimester. In addition to supporting progress and improvement, DHA has been related to lowered threat of preterm delivery.

Research exhibits that as much as 95% of individuals of child-bearing age don’t devour ample quantities of DHA, and the physique can solely make small quantities by itself—which is why taking a DHA complement earlier than, throughout, and after being pregnant is helpful.

When selecting a DHA complement, think about the shape, supply, and dose. All our greatest DHA dietary supplements include one other important nutrient, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), as a result of it is important to assist DHA cross by the placenta to your child, says Ayla Barmmer, MS, RD, LDN. An essential consideration is when you take blood stress or blood thinner drugs, it’s best to examine with a healthcare skilled earlier than taking a DHA complement.

To get our greatest DHA dietary supplements, we prioritized third-party-tested dietary supplements that contained evidence-based doses of DHA and EPA and which were examined for purity, high quality, and security. We additionally prioritized ingredient high quality and dietary supplements with sustainably sourced fish oil.

Always communicate with a healthcare skilled earlier than including a complement to your routine to make sure that the complement is acceptable in your particular person wants and which dosage to take. Those who’re allergic to fish, or take blood thinners or blood stress drugs ought to warrant additional warning and get particular person steerage earlier than beginning a DHA complement.

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Do I Need a DHA Supplement If I Take a Prenatal?

Guidelines state that pregnant and lactating folks ought to devour 200 milligrams (mg) of DHA per day. For this purpose, most DHA dietary supplements for being pregnant and some prenatal nutritional vitamins include a minimal of 200 mg of DHA.

However, it could be helpful to devour even larger quantities of DHA, as some analysis exhibits it reduces the chance of preterm delivery and will increase the possibilities that your child could have a wholesome delivery weight. Therefore, even when a prenatal vitamin has DHA, it could be helpful so as to add a DHA complement throughout being pregnant—and in case your prenatal would not, it is an excellent thought to complement. Check the label of your prenatal, and a healthcare skilled can provide additional particular person steerage on the most effective stage of DHA for you.

Best Overall: Garden of Life Prenatal DHA Fish Oil

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Why We Recommend It

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Prenatal DHA Fish Oil complement is our prime decide as a result of it’s NSF Contents Certified, accommodates each DHA and EPA and is Friend of the Sea licensed, which means it’s each good for you and the atmosphere. The NSF Contents Certification ensures that this product is third-party examined for efficiency and purity, together with heavy metallic testing. 

Formulated by a board-certified neurologist, one each day softgel delivers 550 mg of DHA and 120 mg of EPA. It additionally accommodates 55 mg of docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), one other antioxidant-rich omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil and breast milk, which has comparable anti-inflammatory and mind well being advantages. The DHA on this complement is within the pure triglyceride making it preferrred for absorption. It is sourced from traceable and sustainably sourced wild-caught, mercury-free tuna oil

Additionally, it accommodates 800 IU (133% Daily Value) of vitamin D, one other important nutrient throughout being pregnant that may be a standard deficiency.

But Take Note

Most prenatal nutritional vitamins include some vitamin D, so if you’re including this complement, be sure to should not exceeding the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of 4,000 IU per day.

The Details:

  • Form: Softgel
  • Type: Natural triglyceride from 
  • Dose: 550 mg DHA
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 30

Best Overall Runner-up: FullWell Fish Oil

FullWell


Why We Recommend It

FullWell Fish Oil is two easy-to-swallow softgels that present 500 mg of DHA and 100 mg of EPA. (Ayla Barmmer, whom we interviewed for this story, developed this product. However, we selected this product independently due to its research-backed elements.) Instead of including DHA to the FullWell prenatal vitamin, this fish oil complement is separate—a alternative made to make sure the soundness of the DHA. 

The DHA and EPA are sustainably sourced from anchovies and sardines and are within the pure triglyceride kind for optimum absorption. FullWell Fish Oil is Friend of the Sea licensed and has among the lowest oxidation scores within the trade, which means it’s the freshest attainable and doesn’t include a fishy aftertaste. It’s additionally third-party examined for purity, together with heavy metals and different potential toxins and contaminants. You may even ask for the testing outcomes on every batch of dietary supplements. 

But Take Note

You gained’t discover a third-party testing label on this complement, because it’s not licensed by one of many bigger testing firms like USP or NSF.  However, it’s a trusted, OBGYN-recommended model that does carry out third-party testing.

The Details:

  • Form: Softgel
  • Type: Natural triglyceride kind
  • Dose: 500 mg DHA
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 30

Best High-Dose: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-3

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Why We Recommend It 

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-3 is a high-concentration liquid complement delivering 2,840 mg of complete omega-3s—1,010 mg are DHA, and 1,460 are EPA. A 2021 research discovered that taking 1,000 mg of DHA per day throughout being pregnant was related to a decrease threat of preterm delivery, particularly in ladies who had low DHA ranges firstly of being pregnant.

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-3 is sourced from wild-caught sardines and anchovies and delivers DHA in its pure triglyceride kind. This complement is third-party examined and Friend of the Sea licensed, which implies it practices sustainable fishing practices. We recognize that you simply gained’t discover a fishy style on this liquid lemon-flavored DHA. Take one teaspoon each day with meals or as directed by a healthcare supplier. They additionally provide this complement in capsule kind

But Take Note

This larger dose will not be wanted or appropriate for all, particularly those that already devour some fish or are on sure drugs that may work together with high-dose fish dietary supplements. A healthcare skilled can provide additional steerage for the most effective dose in your wants. Note that at present, there isn’t a higher restrict set for the way a lot DHA is an excessive amount of throughout being pregnant.

The Details:

  • Form: Liquid 
  • Type: Natural triglyceride kind
  • Dose: 1010 mg DHA
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 24

Best Gummy: Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Prenatal DHA Gummy Chews

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Why We Recommend It

If you’re in search of a tasty gummy possibility, we advocate Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA Gummy Chews. They include 600 milligrams of omega-3s, 355 milligrams of DHA, and 145 milligrams of EPA per one gummy serving from purified deep-sea fish oil from wild-caught anchovies and sardines. They additionally include 400 IU of vitamin D3

As talked about, all Nordic Naturals dietary supplements are third-party examined, with a Certificate of Analysis obtainable for evaluation. This complement can also be Friend of the Sea licensed, indicating sustainable fishing practices. It accommodates pure flavors, giving it a strawberry-orange style that masks any fishy flavors. It accommodates no added sugars and is as an alternative sweetened with stevia and sugar alcohols. 

But Take Note

It does include sugar alcohols xylitol and sorbitol, which might trigger digestive upset in some, however the small quantity on this complement is unlikely to trigger unwanted side effects. Also, because it accommodates vitamin D, examine your prenatal to be sure to should not exceeding the UL for this nutrient.

The Details:

  • Form: Gummy
  • Type: Natural triglyceride kind
  • Dose: 355 mg DHA
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 27

Best Vegan: Ritual Omega-3 DHA & EPA

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Why We Recommend It

If you’re vegan or vegetarian or typically keep away from fish merchandise, attempt Ritual Omega-3 DHA & EPA, which is sourced from entire microalgae. It accommodates 500 milligrams of omega-3s, 308 milligrams of DHA, and 154 milligrams of EPA per capsule serving. The capsule is designed to attenuate any fishy burps or aftertaste and is infused with pure citrus oils

We like that this product is third-party examined for purity and efficiency, together with testing for heavy metals and microbes, and it’s Clean Label Project Certified and Purity Award Winner. We recognize the standard of Ritual’s elements and their clear sourcing practices, offering detailed info on every lively ingredient, together with the place it was sourced.

This complement could be an excellent complement to Ritual’s Prenatal Multivitamin, which accommodates 350 milligrams of DHA. The mixture of the 2 would supply important nutritional vitamins and minerals and an added enhance of DHA, in addition to EPA, which can be notably helpful for vegans or vegetarians who don’t eat fish. 

But Take Note

This is barely decrease in DHA in comparison with different choices on our checklist. Since vegans and vegetarians don’t devour fish of their diets, it could be a good selection to pair with a prenatal that features some DHA as effectively. 

  • Form: Vegan capsules
  • Type: Whole microalgae
  • Dose: 334 mg DHA
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes
  •  Servings Per Container: 30

Best Prenatal with DHA: Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA

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Why We Recommend It

Nature Made Prenatal Multi with DHA is a budget-friendly multivitamin +DHA possibility that not solely gives the advisable 200 mg of DHA but in addition accommodates the entire different important vitamins for being pregnant. For instance, one softgel per day has 800 mcg of folic acid, 1,000 IU of vitamin D, and 100% of each day being pregnant iron wants.

Nature Made Prenatal Multi with DHA is USP verified, which implies it has been third-party examined for correct ingredient quantities and dangerous contaminants like lead or mercury.

But Take Note

This complement is within the ethyl ester kind as an alternative of the pure triglyceride kind. Manufacturers use this type to enhance stability, however it’s not as effectively absorbed because the triglyceride kind. Note that the softgel is barely bigger than a penny and is greatest taken with water and meals for optimum absorption. 

  • Form: Softgel
  • Type: Ethyl ester
  • Dose: 200 mg DHA
  • Third-Party Tested: Yes
  • Servings Per Container: 110

Benefits of a DHA Supplement Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel are the most effective sources of DHA. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocate that pregnant folks devour 8 to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week to get ample omega-3s, together with DHA and EPA.

Since most individuals don’t eat this a lot fish, taking a DHA complement can make sure you’re getting sufficient DHA for you and the rising child.

Taking a DHA complement can have advantages in all levels of the fertility journey:

  • Before getting pregnant. If you’re planning to grow to be pregnant, you may gain advantage from taking a DHA complement that additionally accommodates EPA. Make certain you’re additionally taking a prenatal vitamin with folate or folic acid. Some prenatal nutritional vitamins have DHA and EPA, however some don’t, so remember to examine the label. Taking DHA earlier than being pregnant ensures that your physique has ample quantities of DHA and EPA when you want it. 
  • During being pregnant. You can begin taking one as quickly as you discover out you’re pregnant, because the central nervous system begins to develop within the first few weeks of being pregnant. “Research shows that consuming omega-3’s during pregnancy can increase the length of pregnancy and birth weight by promoting fetal growth by improving placental blood flow,” says Barmmer. 
  • After being pregnant. DHA can also be essential for infants after they’re born as a result of their brains proceed to quickly develop and develop through the first few years of life. Continue taking your DHA complement, particularly if you’re breastfeeding. “Babies easily absorb higher levels of DHA in breast milk. So optimal amounts of DHA and EPA mean that you have sufficient amounts for your health and recovery during the postpartum period and the growing needs of your baby,” says Barmmer. If you don’t breastfeed, you’ll be able to nonetheless think about taking a DHA complement in your personal well being. “Postpartum recovery and repletion is very individual and can take up to 18 months or more depending on a number of variables. It is most critical to continue taking your prenatal and fish oil for at least the first three to six months postpartum, regardless of whether or not you are breastfeeding (but especially if so!),” says Barmmer.

What Does DHA Do During Each Trimester?

Throughout every trimester, DHA, together with EPA, helps the expansion and improvement of the central nervous system, mind, and eyes. In the primary trimester, DHA helps the central nervous system because it begins to develop. In the third trimester, the mind and eyes are quickly rising, and the newborn obtains DHA each day from the placenta to help this progress.

Babies proceed to accrue DHA within the central nervous system up till 18 months of age. They can get DHA from breast milk, system, and ultimately seafood as soon as they begin consuming meals.

Who May Not Benefit From a DHA Supplement

Taking a DHA complement earlier than, throughout, or after being pregnant is helpful for most individuals. However, the next might not profit from a DHA complement: 

  • People on sure drugs. In normal, DHA dietary supplements are protected and helpful for pregnant folks except a health care provider has suggested them in opposition to taking them. However, fish oil dietary supplements might work together with blood stress drugs and drugs that cut back blood clotting, so examine along with your supplier if you’re taking these or some other drugs earlier than beginning a DHA complement.
  • People allergic to fish or algae. DHA is often sourced from fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, or algae. People who’re allergic to any of those ought to keep away from DHA dietary supplements that include these elements and communicate with their supplier about various choices like Ritual Omega-3 DHA and EPA.
  • People who eat the advisable quantity of fish. If you already meet the advisable consumption of 8-12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week, chances are you’ll not profit from extra DHA by a complement. 

Our Supplement Review Process

We seek the advice of with specialists and our personal in-house Registered Dietitians. We help dietary supplements which are evidence-based and rooted in science, and we worth sure product attributes that we discover to be related to the highest-quality merchandise. In order to search out the most effective DHA dietary supplements for being pregnant, we intently think about a number of elements, together with high quality of elements, third-party testing certifications, and evaluating completely different kinds and dosages. 

For prenatal dietary supplements particularly, we prioritize merchandise which are third-party examined for purity and efficiency, because the FDA doesn’t evaluation dietary dietary supplements for security and effectiveness earlier than they go to market.

While we hope this serves as a information, we advocate consulting along with your healthcare supplier earlier than taking any dietary supplements.

Our Experts

  • Ayla Barmmer, MS, RD, LDN is Registered Dietitian and founder and CEO of FullWell prenatal dietary supplements. She focuses on ladies’s well being with a particular emphasis on hormone stability, fertility, and digestive wellness.
  • Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Educator, and creator of Fueling Male Fertility. She was named an Emerging Leader in Women’s Health by the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Anne Cook Carroll, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian who works with sufferers, together with pre-and postnatal ladies, to satisfy their well being targets. She educates sufferers on the suitable utilization of dietary supplements to optimize their dietary standing and total well being and focuses on complement analysis and evaluation.

DHA Supplement Dosage & Safety

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is crucial to fastidiously learn the ingredient checklist and diet information panel of a complement to know which elements and the way a lot of every ingredient is included relative to the advisable each day worth of that ingredient. Please deliver the complement label to a healthcare supplier to evaluation the completely different elements contained within the complement and any potential interactions between these elements and different dietary supplements and drugs you’re taking.

Fish oil dietary supplements can intervene with blood stress drugs and blood thinner drugs. Check along with your healthcare supplier if you’re taking drugs throughout being pregnant earlier than beginning a brand new complement.

Some specialists imagine that DHA is greatest taken individually from a prenatal multivitamin, however different research have proven that taking a softgel with DHA, plus different nutritional vitamins and minerals, nonetheless raises pregnant folks’s DHA ranges. Therefore, ask a healthcare skilled for particular person steerage on the most effective time to take a DHA complement.

Form

“DHA can be taken from a fish oil or be algae-based, which is appropriate for those who follow a vegan lifestyle or who follow a diet that excludes seafood,” says registered dietitian Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT. Fish oil accommodates DHA within the pure triglyceride kind. 

The pure triglyceride type of DHA might be transformed to ethyl esters or re-esterified triglycerides to purify or stabilize the fatty acid. The triglyceride type of DHA is best absorbed than ethyl esters, however both can elevate DHA ranges within the blood.

Research exhibits EPA is required to assist DHA enter the cells of the fetus. We excluded DHA dietary supplements that didn’t include EPA as a result of EPA is essential for aiding the switch of DHA throughout the placenta to the newborn.

Dosage

Currently, there isn’t a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for DHA. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and others advocate that pregnant and lactating folks devour 200 milligrams (mg) of DHA per day.

Some dietary supplements have larger doses of DHA, nearer to 400 mg, 600 mg, and even 1,000 mg. A 2013 research discovered that supplementation with 600 mg of DHA through the second half of being pregnant resulted in fewer preterm births, larger delivery weight, and longer gestation period. Other research present that 1,000 mg of DHA in being pregnant can have optimistic results, such because the lowered threat of preterm delivery, particularly for individuals who have low DHA ranges in the beginning of being pregnant.

Another approach to consider dosage is in reference to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 8 to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week. The quantity of DHA in fish varies, however for reference, three ounces of cooked salmon has 1,240 mg of DHA, whereas three ounces of cooked trout accommodates 440 mg of DHA. So relying on the kind of fish, 8-12 ounces would equate to about 1,200-4,800 mg of DHA per week. 

There is at present no higher restrict set for DHA. However, research have proven that as much as 1,000 mg of DHA per day in being pregnant can cut back hostile outcomes like preterm delivery, particularly in moms with low DHA ranges. A healthcare skilled can provide additional steerage on the quantity of DHA greatest in your wants.

Who We Are

Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian and mother of 4, so she is aware of the significance of a wholesome being pregnant. She enjoys writing about a wide range of diet subjects, together with weight reduction, intestine well being, being pregnant, breastfeeding, and numerous diets.

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