Low EPA+DHA Levels Increase the Risk of Premature Delivery

Published Date : Aug 06, 2018

According to a recent research study, low levels of long chain n-3 fatty acids in pregnant women during their first and second trimester carry a high risk of giving birth prematurely as compared to women with higher level of these fatty acids. During times that see a vast rise in suggestions that pregnant women should avoid eating fish altogether owing to the mercury content in fishes, the research supports the necessity to ensure proper intake of long chain fatty acids during pregnancy.

The research also suggests that consumers should refer to the guidance that was issued by the U.S. FDA last years and make proper choice regarding the best type of fish that should be consumed and the kind of fish that should be avoided. Premature birth is known to be a leading reason behind neonatal death cases and is often linked with a variety of cardiometabolic issues and cognitive deficiencies in later stages of life of survivors.

For the new research study, researchers analyzed data obtained from the Danish National Birth Cohort. The researchers examined blood samples from women who gave birth prematurely-before completing 34 weeks of gestation-and women who gave birth post full-term of pregnancy over the period between 1996 and 2003. The blood samples were collected during the first and second trimesters of their pregnancy.

Examination of the blood samples demonstrated that the women who had EPA+DHA serum levels of only about 1.6% or less of their total plasma fatty acids carried the risk of premature delivery 10 times higher as compared to women who had these levels of 1.8% or more. Thus the researchers suggest that the women who have lower levels of EPA+DHA, the more consumption of fish or fish oil supplements could help reduce the risk of delivering preterm babies. However, the researchers have cautioned that the generalizations in the study’s findings could be limited to a certain degree owing to the fact that the study was undertaken in Denmark, where the rates of preterm birth are relatively low and that not only diet related variations but variation in genetic factors could also play a role.