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A new meta-analysis suggests omega-3 supplement consumption is associated with a 58% decrease in the likelihood of early preterm birth.
Studies has suggested omega-3s may play a vital role in infant health, both before and after birth, but a new meta-analysis has found that omega-3 supplementation may reduce the likelihood of early preterm birth by 58%.
In addition to reducing the chance of early preterm birth (defined as babies born before 34 weeks), omega-3 supplementation was associated with a 17% decrease in any preterm delivery (babies born before 37 weeks). Researchers also found a significantly longer gestation period and significantly higher average infant birth weight in the omega-3 group compared to controls.
“This research underscores much of what we already knew about the importance of EPA and DHA for infant development, and it builds on research that strongly suggests these omega-3s are a key to health throughout life,” said Harry Rice, PhD, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, GOED. “Experts know that carrying a baby full-term strongly increases the likelihood of a healthy baby post-delivery, which means omega-3 consumption is crucial for pregnant women.”
The systematic review and meta-analysis included 4193 women from six randomized studies.
“Omega-3 fatty acids are effective in preventing early and any preterm delivery,” concluded researchers. “The intervention is simple and easily available, and has the potential to influence population-based strategies in the prevention of preterm birth.”
Nutritional Outlook Magazine
Kar S et al., “Effects of omega-3 fatty acids in prevention of early preterm delivery: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized studies,” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, vol. 198 (November 2015): 40–46