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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Omega-3 supplements prevent a ‘preemie’ baby
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Omega-3 supplements prevent a ‘preemie’ baby image

Taking omega-3 DHA supplements when you’re pregnant pretty much eliminates any risk of a premature birth. A preterm baby—born at 34 weeks or earlier—often needs emergency hospital care.

Around 106,000 high-risk preterm births could be avoided in the US alone every year if women supplemented with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), say researchers.

Studies of DHA supplementation and premature birth show that the women with low levels of the nutrient are much more likely to give birth prematurely, say researchers from the University of Kansas. Taking the supplements can reduce the risk to just 1.5 per cent.

Women in the US and the rest of the developed world typically are low in DHA, and have levels well below that reported in countries such as Japan, where more fish is eaten, says lead researcher Susan Carlson.


References

(Source: Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2016; 112: 44)

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