Home Up Arthritis Asthma Brain Breast Milk Cancers Crohn's Disease Dermatological Heart Pregnancy Psychiatry Background Info Flax



Taking fish oil or eating fish during pregnancy helps reduce premature delivery and helps increase the physical and mental well-being of the child born.  

DHA in Pregnancy Probably Helps: A DB study with 291 women taking egg DHA 33 mg/d or 133 mg/d. After controlling for risk factors, gestation increased by 6.0 days (P =.009) in the higher docosahexaenoic acid group. Birth weight, length, and head circumference increased almost to statistical significance (P =.06-.18), although the increases could be clinically important indications of enhanced intrauterine growth. No safety concerns were found. U Kansas. A randomized trial of docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy. Smuts CM, Huang M, Mundy D, Plasse T, Major S, Carlson SE. Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Mar;101(3):469-79. (Ed: This is a great study, but the levels of DHA could have been higher. Also, DHA from fish or fish oil is more available. Everyone from childhood should be eating fish and/or taking fish oil or its equivalent.)

Moderate Fish or Fish Oil Consumption Best in Pregnancy: In a study of 491 healthy Icelandic mothers, infants of women in the lowest quartile of fish consumption weighed less (p = 0.036), were shorter (p < 0.001), and had a smaller head circumference (p < 0.001) at birth than those of women consuming higher amounts of fish. Infants of women in the highest quartile of fish oil intake (>/=1 tablespoon (11 ml)/day), consuming threefold the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A and twofold that of vitamin D, were shorter (p = 0.036) and had a smaller head circumference (p = 0.003) than those of women consuming less. Infant size at birth increased with fish consumption, especially for women in the lower quartiles of consumption. Smaller birth size was also linked to the highest levels of fish oil intake. Constituents of fish and fish oil might affect birth size differently depending on the amount consumed. Association of Fish and Fish Liver Oil Intake in Pregnancy with Infant Size at Birth among Women of Normal Weight before Pregnancy in a Fishing Community. Thorsdottir I, Birgisdottir BE, Halldorsdottir S, Geirsson RT. University of Iceland. Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Sep 1;160(5):460-5 

No Clear Benefit to High Risk Pregnancies: 234 women treated with 2.7 g/day of omega-3s in fish oil vs. placebo in DB PC study. A minimal (RR 0.89) and non-significant decrease in proteinuria and hypertension and increase in birth weight was found. Br J Ob Gyn 2/95;102:95. Similarly, no benefit was found in 63 women in Netherlands. Br J Ob Gyn 2/95;102:123

Helped Reduce Premature Delivery: DB study of 1500 women with a history of premature delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, twins, or hypertension of pregnancy found only premature delivery benefited, being reduced from 33% to 21% (RR 0.54). BJOG 2000 Mar;107(3):382-95

Helps Reduce Premature Delivery: Aarhus, Denmark, 8729 pregnant women. Preterm delivery differed significantly across four groups of seafood intake, falling progressively from 7.1% never consuming fish to 1.9% in the group consuming fish at least once a week. Adjusted odds for preterm delivery were increased by a factor of 3.6. From zero intake up to a daily intake of 15 g fish or 0.15 g n-3 fatty acids. Estimates of risk for low birth weight were similar to those for preterm delivery. Low consumption of fish was a strong risk factor for preterm delivery and low birth weight. In women with zero or low intake of fish, small amounts of n-3 fatty acids--provided as fish or fish oil--may confer protection against preterm delivery and low birth weight. BMJ 2002 Feb 23;324(7335):447

Eclampsia Low n-3 and n-6 in umbilical blood: LCPUFA have 20 or more carbon atoms and 3 or more double bonds. Preeclampsia with HBP and proteinuria and often perinatal mortality due to growth retardation and early delivery. Elevated ratio of thromboxane A2 to prostacyclin I2 may be due to abn eoicosanoid production. LCPUFAs are structural components of membr phospholipids and are precursors to eicosanoids (prostagloandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes). Quantitatively most imp LCPUFA fr 18:2n-6 is arachidonic acid (20:4n-6). 18:3n-n is converted into eicosapentaenoic (20:5n-3 and docosahexaenoic (22:6n-3) acids. AA is precursor to TxA2 in platelets and PGI2 in vasc endothelium. TxA2 is a potent vasoconstrictor and platelet aggregator. EPA is precursor to TxA3 in platelets which is less potent, and to PGI3. Dietary intake can influence eicosanoid-mediated vasoactive effects. Western diet may promote platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction. Maternal synthesis of LCPUFA insuff for fetus needs. Insufficient supply may cause growth retardation and influence gestational age.

AA and DHA status is related to birth wt, head circumference, and abdominal circumference and DHA to length of gestation. Umbilical wall concentrations of DHA correlate with wt, length, and head circum at birth. Study compared 27 preeclamptic black women with similar controls. Markedly lower n-3 and n-6 fatty acids in preeclamptic women’s umbilical vessels but especially n-3. Velzing-Aarts, U Groningen, Am J Clin Nutr 2/99