Upping omega-3 intake reduces risk of preterm babies

GPs can advise pregnant women to take a supplement from 12 weeks, says Cochrane review

Pregnant women who increase their omega-3 intake are less likely to have a premature baby, according to a Cochrane review.

The researchers say their findings support advice that women can begin taking a daily dose of omega-3 at the 12-week stage of pregnancy.

“This is an extremely promising finding because we now have strong evidence that omega-3 supplements are a simple and cost-effective intervention to prevent premature birth,” says researcher Professor Maria Makrides of the SA Health and Medical Research Institute.

The review includes 70 randomised controlled trials covering almost 20,000 women, mostly comparing supplementation with either placebo or usual care.

Increasing the daily intake of omega-3 acids during pregnancy lowers the risk of having a baby before 37 weeks by 11%, from 134 per 1000 to 119 per 1000 births.

It also lowers the risk of having a premature