The purpose of this article is to describe the professional literature and current controversies concerning the relationship between essential fatty acids, especially Docohexaenoic Acid (DHA), and neurologic function.

Although there is debate in the literature concerning just how much DHA is required for optimal neurologic functioning of infants, it is known that adequate DHA levels are dependent on an adequate dietary intake.

However, common dietary practices today may not provide enough DHA.

Because pregnancy and lactation are key times of rapid brain growth for the developing fetus and infant, nurses can be instrumental in teaching pregnant and lactating women diet-related information and promoting practices that help increase DHA levels. By understanding the importance of DHA in pregnancy and infancy, the nurse can take a more active role in essential health education.