600mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily will reduce the incidence of babies born before 34 weeks and those born under normal weight according to this new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And the study is only at the half-way point - five years into the 10 year double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial.
350 women are participating and those on the supplement are demonstrating longer period of gestation, increased birth weight, and their babies are longer and have bigger head circumferences. A bigger head is not surprising since DHA is intimately involved in foetal brain development, accumulating most readily in the brain during pregnancy (as opposed to post-natally).
It’s proposed that this study will also look at the child up to the age of 6, assessing intelligence and school-readiness, with further, longer term assessments of markers and milestones for overall health and wellbeing. No doubt about the importance of robust and comprehensive supplementation during your pregnancy.
But this study also raises a question ... does the supplement differ substantially if the DHA is sourced from fish, krill, squid, salmon or algae? Given the burgeoning size of the omega-3 supplement market, which source of DHA is truly sustainable? Watch this space and click here if you want all the reasons for supplementing before and during pregnancy?