Parenting is one of the most joyful yet overwhelming tasks! You are always concerned whether they are getting the right amount of sleep, are not exposed to germs and infections, and most importantly if they are getting the right nutrition! 

Breastfeeding mothers can ensure that their baby is getting the right nutrition by consuming beneficial nutrients like Omega-3 DHA. In addition, you can test DHA levels in breast milk to be extra confident that your baby is receiving the necessary amount of DHA that’s crucial for his/her cognitive and visual development.

If you are considering a DHA test while breastfeeding or have already taken one, you’ve reached the right place. Let’s dive deeper into the what, why and how of a DHA test in greater detail.

Let’s get started, shall we?

What Is A DHA Test?

A DHA test is a safe and non-invasive procedure to evaluate the Omega-3 DHA level in breast milk after childbirth. It is a fairly straightforward and hassle-free test. There are a wide array of DHA tests out there for breastfeeding mothers.

LifeCell’s OmegaScore-N test is one among them. With this test, you can check the amount of DHA in your breast milk from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is:

  • Follow the detailed instruction manual that comes with our at-home sample collection kit
  • Collect your breast milk sample
  • Mail it back to the lab

Rest assured, you will get physician-approved DHA test results within 7-8 days.

Why Is DHA Test Important For Lactating Moms?

Testing the DHA level in your breast milk is important for many reasons. First of all, our body needs Omega-3 DHA for several metabolic functions. And most importantly, DHA plays a critical role in the development of the human brain and retina.1

Studies suggest that optimal DHA level in breast milk positively affects cognitive growth, IQ levels, visual functions, and immunity in infants.2,3,4 Therefore, it becomes vital to check if breast milk has adequate amounts of this beneficial nutrient, especially if the child is exclusively breastfed.

Moreover, Omega-3 DHA can be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of postpartum depression in new mothers.5 Did you know? Women experience a 50% decrease in their plasma DHA levels after pregnancy and most of the time, they are unable to restore it to normal levels even 26 weeks after birth.6

This is where a postpartum DHA test can help you monitor your DHA levels and ensure that your milk has the right amount of nutrients for your baby's overall growth and development.

What Does Your DHA Test Results Mean?

The OmegaScore-N test provides elaborate test results when it comes to the DHA level in breast milk. You also get a personalized report that can be accessed by logging into your account dashboard. The online portal will display your results in terms of the percentage of Omega-3 DHA content in the sample.

According to research, the mean concentration of DHA in breast milk is approximately 0.32%.7 The report will let you know whether your DHA value is below, at the borderline or above the mean value criteria alongside a reference range for each category. Not just that, the report will include physician-approved personalized recommendations for the steps ahead too.

What To Do After You Get Your DHA Test Results?

Once you get your results, you can schedule a consultation with LifeCell’s medical experts if required. If the DHA levels in breast milk are above the recommended criteria, all you need to do is maintain a consistent intake of around 200 gm of DHA to maintain these levels.8

However, if the levels are borderline or below the specified range, you should consult your doctor. They can recommend dietary changes and supplements that can effectively boost the DHA level in your breast milk. For example, increased consumption of cold-water fish, fish oil supplements and algal oil supplements are known to increase the DHA level in breast milk.9,10,11

You can take this test again after an interval of 4 weeks to check if the dietary changes and supplements are making any difference in your breast milk DHA level.

Conclusion

It is essential for a lactating mom to consider a DHA test to ensure that her child receives all the essential nutrients from her milk. That’s because awareness about the DHA level in breast milk encourages lactating mothers to pay close attention to their diet and supplement intake. As a result, it may lead to an increase in their DHA levels and an increase in the supply of DHA to their nursing child.12 So keep measuring, modifying and monitoring your DHA levels regularly with the help of LifeCell’s OmegaScore-N from the comfort of your home.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262608/ 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039806/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33255561/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3164093/ 
  5. http://nature.com/articles/s41398-020-00886-3 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989696/ 
  7. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/85/6/1457/4754397 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17688705/ 
  9. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/omega-3-fish-oil-and-pregnancy/# 
  10. https://internationalbreastfeedingjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13006-018-0175-8 
  11. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/16/3410/pdf 
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5273852/ 

References