Marine oil, and other prostaglandin precursor, supplementation for pregnancy uncomplicated by pre-eclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction.

M. Makrides, L. Duley, S. F. Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

276 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Population studies have shown that higher intakes of marine foods during pregnancy are associated with longer gestations, higher infant birthweights and a low incidence of pre-eclampsia. It is suggested that the fatty acids of marine foods may be the underlying cause of these associations. OBJECTIVES: To estimate the effects of marine oil, and other prostaglandin precursor, supplementation during pregnancy on the risk of pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, low birthweight and small-for-gestational age. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group Trials Register (December 2005), The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library 2005, Issue 2) and MEDLINE (1966 to April 2005). SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised trials comparing oral marine oil, or other prostaglandin precursor, supplementation during pregnancy with either placebo or no treatment. Trials were excluded if their aim was to treat women with established pre-eclampsia or suspected intrauterine growth restriction. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, data extraction and trial quality. MAIN RESULTS: Six trials, involving 2783 women, are included in this review. Three of these were rated as high quality, including the largest trial with 1477 women. Women allocated a marine oil supplement had a mean gestation that was 2.6 days longer than women allocated to placebo or no treatment (weighted mean difference (WMD), 2.55 days, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 4.07 days; 3 trials, 1621 women). This was not reflected in a clear difference between the two groups in the relative risk (RR) of birth before 37 completed weeks, although women allocated marine oil did have a lower risk of giving birth before 34 completed weeks' gestation (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.99; 2 trials, 860 women). Birthweight was slightly greater in infants born to women in the marine oil group compared with control (WMD 47 g, 95% CI 1 g to 93 g; 3 trials, 2440 women). However, there were no overall differences between the groups in the proportion of low birthweight or small-for-gestational age babies. There was no clear difference in the relative risk of pre-eclampsia between the two groups. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is not enough evidence to support the routine use of marine oil, or other prostaglandin precursor, supplements during pregnancy to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, low birthweight or small-for-gestational age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD003402
JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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