Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Prevention of Early Preterm Delivery: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Studies
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, online 30 November 2015
Sumit Kara, , , Min Wongb, Ewelina Rogozinskac, Shakila Thangaratinama, c, d
a Women's Health Unit, Royal London Hospital, Bart's Health NHS Trust, London, UK
b Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Bart's Health, London, UK
c Women's Health Research Unit, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
d Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (MESH), Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
Objective: Preterm birth continues to be the one of the leading causes of infant deaths worldwide. There is a need for effective, easily available, safe and acceptable interventions to prevent preterm delivery, especially before 34 weeks of gestation. Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are available as over the counter nutritional supplements, and are taken by women to improve pregnancy outcomes, without any clear recommendations. We undertook a systematic review to assess the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on early (<34wks) and any (<37 weeks) preterm delivery.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library from inception to 2014 without any language restrictions. Study selection, quality assessment and data extraction were done by two independent reviewers. Results were summarised as relative risks and 95% confidence intervals for dichotomous outcomes and mean differences for continuous outcomes.
Results: Of the nine included trials (5980 women), six (4193 women) evaluated the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on early preterm delivery.
The risk of early preterm delivery was reduced by 58% (RR 0.42; 95% CI 0.27 - 0.66; I2= 0%; p= 0.0002) and any preterm delivery by 17% (RR 0.83; 95% CI 0.70 - 0.98; I2 = 0%; p = 0.03) with the intervention.
There was a significant increase in the mean gestational age by 1.95 weeks (95% CI 0.42 - 3.48 weeks; I2= 0.47; p= 0.01) and mean birth weight by 122.1 g (95% CI 47.4 - 196.8; I2= 0.84; p= 0.001) in the intervention group compared to the controls. Subgroup analysis showed no significant differences in the effects between the groups according to the risk status, dose and timing of the intervention.
Conclusion: Omega-3 fatty acids are effective in preventing early and any preterm delivery. The intervention is simple and easily available and has the potential to influence population based strategies in the prevention of preterm birth.
Pages listed in BOTH of the categories Pregnancy and Omega-3
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- Preterm Births decreased by Omega-3 (analysis of 184 countries) – April 2019
- Preterm Births - promising preventions – anti-oxidants, Vitamin D, Omega-3, Zinc, etc. – Jan 2019
- Omega-3 index of 5 greatly decreases the risk of an early preterm birth – Dec 2018
- Omega-3 added during pregnancy helps in many ways – Cochrane Review of RCTs Nov 2018
- Omega-3 helps preconception (in addition to pregnancy) – many studies
- More pregnancies and fewer abortions when Omega-3 was added (cows in this case) July 2018
- PCOS treated by a combination of Vitamin D and Omega-3 – RCT Oct 2018
- Omega-3 – fewer than 5 percent of adult women get the RDA – April 2018
- Omega-3, Vitamin D, Folic acid etc. during pregnancy and subsequent mental illness of child – March 2018
- Supplementation while pregnant and psychotic – 20 percent Omega-3, 6 percent Vitamin D – June 2016
- Importance of Vitamin D and fish rarely mentioned during midwife-led prenatal booking visits – July 2017
- Pre-term birth rate of pregnant smokers cut in half if take Omega-3 – RCT May 2017
- Gestational diabetes treated by Vitamin D plus Omega-3 – RCT Feb 2017
- Asthma reduced 31 percent when Omega-3 taken during pregnancy – RCT Dec 2016
- Preterm births strongly related to Vitamin D, Vitamin D Receptor, Iodine, Omega-3, etc
- Typical pregnancy is now 39 weeks – Omega-3 and Vitamin D might restore it to full 40 weeks
- Omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy reduce early pre-term births (save 1500 USD per child) – Aug 2016
- Rancid Omega-3 increased the odds of newborn mortality by 13 times (rats) – July 2016
- Preterm birth extended by 2 weeks with Omega-3 – Meta-analysis Nov 2015
- Stillbirth rate typically 1 in 200, perhaps only 1 in 800 with Omega-3
- Omega-3 helps pregnancy in many ways: preterm 26 percent less likely etc – review July 2012
- Pregnancy and infants healthier with Omega-3 supplementation
- Vitamin D, DHA, Folic, Iodine benefits during pregnancy – July 2012