Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Maternal, Fetal, Infant and Child Wellbeing

Ellen Mozurkewich; Deborah R Berman; Julie Chilimigras


Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2010;5(1):125-138. 

In This Article

High-risk Pregnancies

Two other systematic reviews of LC-PUFA supplementation in pregnancy have analyzed randomized trials separately, based on the risk status of study participants. In a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials among pregnancies at high risk for adverse outcome (variously defined as prior preterm delivery, current intrauterine growth restriction, or pregnancy-induced hypertension), Horvath, Koletzko and Szajewska evaluated the effect of LC-PUFA supplementation on pregnancy duration and preterm birth.[46] Analysis of two included studies with 295 total participants showed no effect on preterm births under 37 weeks, but overall gestational length was significantly increased by 8.5 days. By contrast, LC-PUFA supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in preterm births under 34 weeks' gestation (RR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.18–0.84).[46] These findings are in broad agreement with the Cochrane review's subgroup analysis of the effect of marine oil on length of gestation in high-risk pregnancies.[45] In a more recent randomized, controlled trial that enrolled women with prior preterm birth to receive omega-3 fatty acid supplementation or placebo in addition to 17-α hydroxyprogesterone caproate, no beneficial effect of the supplementation was demonstrated, although women who ate fish more than once per month had a significantly reduced risk of preterm birth.[33]


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