A study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology found omega-3 supplement consumption was associated with a 58 percent decrease in the likelihood of early preterm birth (babies born before 34 weeks) and a 17 percent decrease in any preterm delivery (babies born before 37 weeks). In addition, the data shows a longer gestation period and higher average infant birth weight.
The study, published in January, was titled "Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Prevention of Early Preterm Delivery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Studies."
"This research underscores much of what we already knew about the importance of EPA and DHA for infant development, and it builds on research that strongly suggests these omega-3s are a key to health throughout life," said Dr. Harry Rice, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED). "Experts know that carrying a baby full-term strongly increases the likelihood of a healthy baby post-delivery, which means omega-3 consumption is crucial for pregnant women."
Developing infants must obtain vital nutrients, like omega-3s, through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk after birth. Omega-3s are also vital for infant brain development, which was supported by two different studies also published this month.