Previous studies have suggested that maternal supplementation with n−3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; may reduce the incidence of preterm delivery but may also prolong gestation beyond term; however, more data are needed regarding the role of n−3 long-chain; polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy. Maternal supplementation with n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids did not reduce rates of early preterm deliveries, nor did it affect rates of post-term delivery interventions; according to randomized trial results published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“The World Health Organization recommends an intake of 300 mg of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; per day in pregnant women; however, the median intake among Australian and American women of childbearing; age is less than one-third of this,” Maria Makrides, PhD,of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and colleagues wrote.
Researchers found that there were 61 early preterm deliveries in the n-3 group; and 55 early preterm deliveries in the vegetable-oil group. The between-group difference not significant (adjusted RR = 1.13; 95% CI, 0.79-1.63), they said. Although there was a higher percentage of infants born to women at more than 41 weeks’ gestation in the n-3 group that were very large for gestational age at birth; (adjusted RR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.02-1.65), no other significant differences between the groups in terms of adverse events; or other pregnancy or neonatal outcomes reported.
In addition, minor gastrointestinal disturbances were more commonly reported in the n-3 group than in the control group, but percentages of serious adverse events did not differ between groups, according to researchers. “Further study need to determine whether there may be benefit in women who have low n-3 levels,” Makrides and colleagues wrote. Supplementation with n−3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from early pregnancy (<20 weeks of gestation) until 34 weeks of gestation did not result in a lower incidence of early preterm delivery or a higher incidence of interventions in post-term deliveries than control.