Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prenatal DHA reduces early preterm birth and low birth weight

Date:
February 25, 2013
Source:
University of Kansas, Life Span Institute
Summary:
Infants of mothers who were given 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy weighed more at birth and were less likely to be very low birth weight and born before 34 weeks gestation than infants of mothers who were given a placebo.

University of Kansas researchers have found that the infants of mothers who were given 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy weighed more at birth and were less likely to be very low birth weight and born before 34 weeks gestation than infants of mothers who were given a placebo. This result greatly strengthens the case for using the dietary supplement during pregnancy.

The results are from the first five years of a 10-year, double-blind randomized controlled trial to be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and online Feb. 20. A follow-up of this sample of infants is ongoing to determine whether prenatal DHA nutritional supplementation will benefit children's intelligence and school readiness.

"A reduction in early preterm and very low birth weight delivery could have clear clinical and public health significance," said Susan Carlson, A.J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who directed the study with John Colombo, University of Kansas professor of psychology and director of the Life Span Institute.

"We believe that supplementing U.S. women with DHA could safely increase mean birth weight and gestational age to numbers that are closer to other developed countries such as Norway and Australia," she said.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) occurs naturally in cell membranes with the highest levels in brain cells, but levels can be increased by diet or supplements. An infant obtains DHA from his or her mother in utero and postnatally from human milk, but the amount received depends upon the mother's DHA status.

"U.S. women typically consume less DHA than women in most of the developed world," said Carlson.

During the first five years of the study, children of women enrolled in the study received multiple developmental assessments at regular intervals throughout infancy and at 18 months of age. In the next phase of the study, the children will receive twice-yearly assessments until they are six years of age. The researchers will measure developmental milestones that occur in later childhood and are linked to lifelong health and welfare.

Previous research has established the effects of postnatal feeding of DHA on infant cognitive and intellectual development, but DHA is accumulated most rapidly in the fetal brain during pregnancy, said Colombo. "That's why we are so interested in the effects of DHA taken prenatally, because we will really be able to see how this nutrient affects development over the long term."

The study is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kansas, Life Span Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. E. Carlson, J. Colombo, B. J. Gajewski, K. M. Gustafson, D. Mundy, J. Yeast, M. K. Georgieff, L. A. Markley, E. H. Kerling, D. J. Shaddy. DHA supplementation and pregnancy outcomes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.050021

Cite This Page:

University of Kansas, Life Span Institute. "Prenatal DHA reduces early preterm birth and low birth weight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225131537.htm>.
University of Kansas, Life Span Institute. (2013, February 25). Prenatal DHA reduces early preterm birth and low birth weight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225131537.htm
University of Kansas, Life Span Institute. "Prenatal DHA reduces early preterm birth and low birth weight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225131537.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins