The role of n-3 LCPUFA in pregnancy

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The metabolic demand for n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA), particularly docosahexaenoic acid (22: 6 n-3, DHA) is increased during pregnancy because of the extra needs of the fetus, expanded maternal cell mass and placenta. However, in Western countries maternal dietary n-3 LCPUFA intake in pregnancy is low and it is not clear whether adaptive metabolic mechanisms, such as increased DHA synthesis from precursor fatty acids, are capable of meeting the increased need in pregnancy. Consequently randomized controlled trials have been important to determine whether additional dietary n-3 LCPUFA in pregnancy modifies pregnancy, maternal and infant health outcomes. Supplementation with at least 1g n-3 LCPUFA per day results in a modest increase in the duration of gestation that may be most evident at the extremes of gestation. Additionally, n-3 LPUFA supplementation of well nourished pregnant women has little benefit in preventing maternal postnatal depression and is unlikely to result in major benefits to the developmental outcomes of young children. Further work in needed to identify the specific ''at risk'' groups who are most likely to benefit from supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-258
Number of pages4
JournalOCL - Oleagineux Corps Gras Lipides
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • DHA
  • Infant development
  • Maternal depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry

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