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      26 Weeks pregnant

      26 Weeks Pregnant

      26 Weeks pregnant

      Brain food

      In your 26th week of pregnancy, your baby is entering a stage of significant physical growth and brain development. Your balanced diet should include good sources of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCP) DHA to support this rapid brain development.

      Your baby's development at 26 weeks

      Getting ready for your baby's birth

      As your baby starts to prepare for their birth, it’s a good idea for you to do the same. Now’s the time to start thinking about your birth plan: talking to your midwife or GP and doing a bit of research on what you want will provide you with everything you need to feel ready and confident about your baby’s arrival.

      If you haven’t already told your employer that you’ll be going on maternity leave, you should do so now, as you need to give them at least 15 weeks’ notice. Find out more about maternity and paternity leave from the Irish Citizen's Information website.

      LCPs on the brain

      Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs) are a group of special fatty acids. Two of the most significant LCPs for your baby’s development are called DHA and AA, which are part of the Omega 3 and Omega 6 groups of fats.

      DHA has been shown to contribute to your baby’s brain and eye development and is important for your baby’s visual development throughout their first year of life.

      Because your baby’s brain develops so rapidly in your third trimester, making sure they get enough DHA is particularly important.

      DHA continues to support your baby’s brain development after birth when it’s passed on through your breast milk.

      LCP Research

      Experts have reviewed the evidence relating to LCPs in pregnancy and found that mums who took extra DHA in the latter half of pregnancy had a reduced risk of preterm delivery and had babies with a higher birthweight.

      Good fat facts

      It’s important to make sure your balanced diet includes good sources of LCPs, particularly DHA, while you’re pregnant and once your baby is born, too.

      In Ireland there are no specific recommendations to increase these good fats during pregnancy, but it is acknowledged that it is still important to include them in the diet. However, food sources of DHA are limited to oily fish, fish oils and offal, some of which are on the list of foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy, particularly liver.

      For a healthy intake of LCPs including DHA, aim to eat 1–2 portions of oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon, per week. Avoid eating more than this due to the levels of pollutants and mercury they may contain.

      If you don’t like the idea of eating oily fish be sure to include some other sources of Omega 3 fats in your diet such as nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables, rapeseed oil, wholegrain cereals and soya products.

      Next steps

      Try these pregnancy meal and snack ideas which provide Omega 3 fats:

      • Mackerel on a slice of wholegrain toast
      • Grilled salmon with steamed vegetables
      • Waldorf salad made from apples, celery and walnuts
      • Salmon fishcakes with a baby spinach salad
      • A handful of nuts and seeds
      • A bowl of wholegrain cereal
      • A soya milk fruit smoothie

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      Questions about feeding and nutrition?

      Our nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.