Is DHA supplementation helpful in pregnancy?

January 01, 0001

Is DHA supplementation helpful in pregnancy?

It has been recommended that pregnant females increase their dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intakes. These Australian researchers examined whether increasing DHA intake during pregnancy affects depression and enhances their children’s subsequent neurodevelopment. They performed a double- blind, multicenter, randomized controlled trial (DHA to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome {DOMInO} trial) in 5 Australian hospitals, enrolling 2399 women with singleton pregnancies at less than 21 weeks' gestation. Docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil capsules (containing 800 mg/d of DHA) or matched vegetable oil capsules (no DHA) were administered until birth.

The researchers found: "Of 2399 women enrolled, 96.7% completed the trial. The percentage of women with high levels of depressive symptoms during the first 6 months postpartum did not differ between the DHA and control groups (9.67% vs 11.19%, adjusted relative risk 0.85). Mean cognitive composite scores (adjusted mean difference, 0.01) and mean language composite scores (adjusted mean difference, -1.42) of children in the DHA group did not differ from children in the control group."

The researchers concluded: "The use of DHA-rich fish oil capsules compared with vegetable oil capsules during pregnancy did not result in lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improved cognitive and language development in their offspring during early childhood."

No evidence that DHA supplementation in pregnancy prevented post partum depression or improved infant neurological development

For the full abstract, click here.

JAMA 304(15):1675-1683, 20 October 2010
© 2010 American Medical Association
Effect of DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy on Maternal Depression and Neurodevelopment of Young Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Maria Makrides, Robert A. Gibson, Andrew J. McPhee, et al.

Category: P. Psychological, W. Pregnancy, Family Planning. Keywords: docosahexaenoic acid, fish oil, pregnancy, depression, neurodevelopment, randomized controlled trial, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 5 November 2010

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