|The purpose of this article is
(a) to explain the role of omega-3 fatty acids in human health, specifically in fetal/neonatal development,
(b) to summarize the recent research behind the innovations in infant formula manufacturing and advertisement of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for pregnant and lactating mothers, and
(c) to relate the research findings to clinical practice.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in perinatal settings is discussed here from three vantage points:
(a) supplementation of the third-trimester pregnant woman to enhance fetal development,
(b) supplementation of the lactating mother to enhance development of the breastfeeding infant, and
(c) supplementation of infant formulas to enhance development of the bottle-feeding infant.
Supplementation can occur by increasing one's intake of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids or by ingesting fatty acid nutritional supplements. The challenge of supplementation for vegan and vegetarian women is also addressed.