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My new OB wants me to switch to prenatal vitamins with DHA. I'll admit, when I saw that it was made by the formula company, I was a little leery. I know it is in formula but I thought it was in formula to make the formula more like breastmilk? Do I really need to supplement with DHA or can I get it naturally somewhere?

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I prefer to purchase whatever prenatal vitamin that I like and then to supplement with fish oil and omega 3 pills (which is DHA/EPA is other forms). I believe DHA is found naturally in breastmilk so formula companies have been adding it.


Omega 3/DHA is really good for brains, joints and nerves. Since it is a good fat it also has a lot of other benefits.

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The problem with whole food sources of omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy is that the best place to get them is oily fish, and too much fish consumption can lead to mercury issues. You could always get a separate omega-3 supplement if you don't like taking the prenatals with DHA.


As a sidenote, after college I worked in a primate research lab where we conducted the original studies that led to DHA in formula. We had baby monkeys drinking three kinds of formula: "simulated monkey milk" which was DHA-fortified, soy formula which was basically Similac, and formula based on safflower oil (which is very deficient in omega-3s, and was used in formulas in developing countries at the time). My job was to test the baby monkeys' vision and their cognitive development. Every research assistant came out of that lab determined to breastfeed.

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