Reducing preterm birth: one of the many benefits of Omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy!

Posted By Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology | 21-December-2018

In a recent Cochrane systematic review including 70 randomized controlled trials (with a total of 19 927 women), omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy was shown to significantly reduce early preterm births (less than 34 weeks gestation), preterm birth (less than 37 weeks gestation).

In addition, taking omega 3 during the second trimester of pregnancy reduced the risk for low birth weight babies (2500 grams) and reduced the risk for perinatal deaths.

Preterm birth (PTB) is defined as a delivery occurring before 37 weeks of gestation and affects up to 11% of all live births worldwide (1). In the USA, one out of eight babies will be born prematurely (2). Prematurity is the most frequent cause of neonatal death and the second most frequent cause of death in children aged 5 years (3). Prematurity has long life consequences on infants compared to infants born full term including neurologic impairments (4).

Omega 3 (ω3) have been used for years to treat patients affected by cardiovascular diseases and has been proved to be totally safe (5). In fertility, an increased ω3 intake prior to conception was shown to positively impact embryo morphology in a study on women undergoing IVF cycle (6). ω3 appear to promote vascular development in the endometrium as seen by in vitro study (7).

Many other studies showed that a higher ω3 intake:

  • can reduce the risk of miscarriage (8).
  • increase uterine blood flow (9).
  • increase the length of pregnancy and reduce preterm birth (10).
  • reduce placental inflammation when taking during the first trimester and through the pregnancy (11).

    In the above-mentioned review, the authors reported that fish oil intake especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA):

  • reduce by 42% the risk of early preterm births ( 34 weeks)!
  • reduce by 11% the risk of preterm births ( 37 weeks).
  • reduce by 25% the risk for perinatal deaths.
  • reduce by 11% the risk for low birth weight babies.

    EPA and DHA are precursors to several mediators triggering anti-inflammatory (12) and anti-oxidative actions (13-14) and have been shown to play key roles in preventing pregnancy complications associated with excessive systemic and placental inflammation (15-16). Knowing that labor is a pro-inflammatory process, maintaining a balance between omega 3 and omega 6 levels is crucial to allow a normal gestation length (17).
Further, DHA may be crucial to support fetal brain development (18) To learn all about omega 3 actions on inflammation, oxidative stress and benefits on your fertility, read our blog on the topic.

    At Braverman Reproductive Immunology, we are systematically screening all our patients for fatty acid levels to detect women with insufficient EPA and DHA levels and recommend supplementation accordingly to restore adequate omega 3 levels that play a crucial role in minimizing your inflammation and support your baby’s development during pregnancy.

    We have developed our own omega 3 supplement, the “Omega-3 Optimize” available for purchase online.

    Read our blog to learn how it can help improve your fertility.

    Questions? Call 516.584.8710
    We would be happy to help answer any questions you may have about our Omega 3-Optimize supplement


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