Both mother and child need essential fatty acids that are classified into omega-3s and omega-6s. Pregnancy uses up fatty acids, particularly omega-3s such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Several recent studies show that post-partum depression is caused by low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are found in all nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains, but not in refined flour used for most bakery products and pastas.
Seafood is also a good source of omega-3's. High concentrations of mercury and other toxins have raised concerns about the safety of some seafoods, but this appears to be a turf battle between various fishing interests more than an actual health threat. I believe that the benefits of seafood far outweigh the potential health concerns. If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor for the latest guidance. At this time the recommendation is to limit or avoid the largest ocean-caught fish: swordfish, tilefish, large tuna, shark or king mackerel.
Pregnancy depletes folic acid, and a deficiency can cause birth defects. Folic acid is found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds and beans. Extracted oils from seeds such as corn, soybeans, cottonseed, rapeseed (canola) and safflower are often converted to partially hydrogenated fats and added to foods. These fats deplete the body of omega-3 fatty acids and therefore should be avoided by pregnant women.
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