Does your pregnancy diet contain an adequate amount of LCPs? LCPs are Long Chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids, or lipids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are important for you and your baby’s health. Find out how you can include them in your daily diet.
By including plenty of LCPs (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids) in your diet your baby will benefit directly, as the nutrition you provide is passed through the placenta to them, and then through your breastmilk after birth.
Research has established that two LCPs in particular, AA and DHA, are found in breastmilk and are important for the development of babies’ brains, eyes and nervous system. Consuming more LCPs during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding has been associated with benefiting babies’ development, encouraging better visual and brain development, as well as better movement skills.
In terms of the food you eat, LCPs are found in eggs, fish and meat. Fish, particularly oily fish like mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon, are a good source of both AA and DHA, while red meat and eggs are rich in AA. The body can also create LCPs from essential fatty acids found in leafy greens, nuts, vegetable oils and seeds, but this process is not always efficient, especially in young babies.
LCPs are especially important in the last three months of pregnancy, as this is the time when your baby’s brain really starts to grow. Research has shown that a higher intake of LCPs during pregnancy can help to reduce the risk of preterm delivery and may be associated with improved visual and brain development in infancy.
Your baby needs a continuous supply of LCPs from birth via your breastmilk as their brain, eyes and nervous system will still be growing fast, so make sure you continue to eat foods rich in LCPs. Whilst breast is best, if you do bottlefeed for any reason, make sure you choose an infant milk that contains the two LCPs, AA and DHA.
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