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DHA Supplementation Of First-time Pregnant Mothers Boosts Birth Weight

December 13, 2010: 08:12 AM EST

U.S. and Mexican researchers have found that first-time mothers who take a prenatal supplement of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) while pregnant may bear babies with higher birth weights. For the study, 1,094 pregnant women received either a placebo supplement or 400 mg of DHA a day from 18-22 weeks of pregnancy  through delivery. The women had a prior median daily dietary intake of about 55 mg of DHA . Of the total number of participants in the study, 38 percent were having their first baby. Birth weights of babies of the first-time mothers who took the DHA supplement were significantly greater, as were head circumferences. Also, the authors noted, only 7.1 percent of the babies of the DHA mothers “exhibited intrauterine growth retardation,” compared to 14 percent of the other babies.

Ramakrishnan, A. et al., "DHA Supplementation and Birth Size in Women having First Baby", DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute, December 13, 2010, © DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute
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