Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy.Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018; 11:CD003402CD
Higher intakes of foods containing omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), such as fish, during pregnancy have been associated with longer gestations and improved perinatal outcomes. This is an update of a review that was first published in 2006.
To assess the effects of omega-3 LCPUFA, as supplements or as dietary additions, during pregnancy on maternal, perinatal, and neonatal outcomes and longer-term outcomes for mother and child.
For this update, we searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (16 August 2018), and reference lists of retrieved studies.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing omega-3 fatty acids (as supplements or as foods, stand-alone interventions, or with a co-intervention) during pregnancy with placebo or no omega-3, and studies or study arms directly comparing omega-3 LCPUFA doses or types. Trials published in abstract form were eligible for inclusion.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data, assessed risk of bias in trials and assessed quality of evidence for prespecified birth/infant, maternal, child/adult and health service outcomes using the GRADE approach.
In this update, we included 70 RCTs (involving 19,927 women at low, mixed or high risk of poor pregnancy outcomes) which compared omega-3 LCPUFA interventions (supplements and food) compared with placebo or no omega-3. Overall study-level risk of bias was mixed, with selection and performance bias mostly at low risk, but there was high risk of attrition bias in some trials. Most trials were conducted in upper-middle or high-income countries; and nearly half the trials included women at increased/high risk for factors which might increase the risk of adverse maternal and birth outcomes.Preterm birth < 37 weeks (13.4% versus 11.9%; risk ratio (RR) 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81 to 0.97; 26 RCTs, 10,304 participants; high-quality evidence) and early preterm birth < 34 weeks (4.6% versus 2.7%; RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.77; 9 RCTs, 5204 participants; high-quality evidence) were both lower in women who received omega-3 LCPUFA compared with no omega-3. Prolonged gestation > 42 weeks was probably increased from 1.6% to 2.6% in women who received omega-3 LCPUFA compared with no omega-3 (RR 1.61 95% CI 1.11 to 2.33; 5141 participants; 6 RCTs; moderate-quality evidence).For infants, there was a possibly reduced risk of perinatal death (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.03; 10 RCTs, 7416 participants; moderate-quality evidence: 62/3715 versus 83/3701 infants) and possibly fewer neonatal care admissions (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.03; 9 RCTs, 6920 participants; moderate-quality evidence - 483/3475 infants versus 519/3445 infants). There was a reduced risk of low birthweight (LBW) babies (15.6% versus 14%; RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.82 to 0.99; 15 trials, 8449 participants; high-quality evidence); but a possible small increase in large-for-gestational age (LGA) babies (RR 1.15, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.36; 6 RCTs, 3722 participants; moderate-quality evidence, for omega-3 LCPUFA compared with no omega-3. Little or no difference in small-for-gestational age or intrauterine growth restriction (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.13; 8 RCTs, 6907 participants; moderate-quality evidence) was seen.For the maternal outcomes, there is insufficient evidence to determine the effects of omega-3 on induction post-term (average RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.22 to 2.98; 3 trials, 2900 participants; low-quality evidence), maternal serious adverse events (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.40 to 2.72; 2 trials, 2690 participants; low-quality evidence), maternal admission to intensive care (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.12 to 2.63; 2 trials, 2458 participants; low-quality evidence), or postnatal depression (average RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.77; 2 trials, 2431 participants; low-quality evidence). Mean gestational length was greater in women who received omega-3 LCPUFA (mean difference (MD) 1.67 days, 95% CI 0.95 to 2.39; 41 trials, 12,517 participants; moderate-quality evidence), and pre-eclampsia may possibly be reduced with omega-3 LCPUFA (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.01; 20 trials, 8306 participants; low-quality evidence).For the child/adult outcomes, very few differences between antenatal omega-3 LCPUFA supplementation and no omega-3 were observed in cognition, IQ, vision, other neurodevelopment and growth outcomes, language and behaviour (mostly low-quality to very low-quality evidence). The effect of omega-3 LCPUFA on body mass index at 19 years (MD 0, 95% CI -0.83 to 0.83; 1 trial, 243 participants; very low-quality evidence) was uncertain. No data were reported for development of diabetes in the children of study participants.