Intake of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy decreases the risks of premature birth, says a new study headed by Philippa Middleton, a professor at the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group and the South Australian Institute for Medical and Health Research.
Premature birth is the primary cause of death in children under 5, worldwide, and contributes to about one million deaths annually. Furthermore, preterm babies are at higher risk of suffering from several long-term illnesses such as visual impairment, delayed development, and reduced cognitive skills.
“We know that preterm birth is a critical global health problem, with an estimated 15 million babies born too early each year. While most pregnancies last between 38 and 42 weeks, premature babies are those born before 37 weeks, and the earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of death or ill health,” explained Philippa Middleton.
Omega 3 Supplements During Pregnancy Might Reduce The Risks Of Premature Birth
To arrive at this finding, the investigators have studied long-chain Omega 3 fats and how they contribute to lowering the risk of premature birth. The scientists focused their research on docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in particular, both present in fatty fish, fish oil medications, and Omega 3 supplements.
“There is not a great diversity of options for preventing preterm birth, so these new findings are very important for pregnant women, babies, and the health professionals who care for them. We still don’t fully understand the causes of preterm birth, so predicting and preventing preterm birth has always been a challenge. This is one of the reasons why omega-3 supplementation in pregnancy is of great interest to researchers around the world,” concluded Philippa Middleton, the leading author of this new study.
In conclusion, taking Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy might be helpful in lowering the risks of premature birth, particularly in those suspected cases.