Mom's DHA boosts infant problem-solving

In the third trimester of pregnancy, infant brains experience a large growth spurt. Mothers’ DHA levels at that time influence infant DHA levels at three months, and cognitive development at 12 months.

In this study, doctors measured DHA levels in 32 pregnant women at week 28 and again at three months postpartum, and in their offspring at three, six, and 12 months. At three months, children of mothers with higher DHA levels also had higher DHA levels themselves.

And, at 12 months, children whose mothers had adequate DHA levels during the third trimester were better able to solve problems compared to children whose mothers had lower DHA levels while pregnant.

Discussing the results, doctors said it is the fatty acid content in membranes of circulating red blood cells during pregnancy that have the strongest link to later problem-solving skills, and that higher problem-solving scores in infancy translate directly to higher childhood IQ scores later.

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