Docosahexaenoic acid not much use during pregnancy?

December 1, 2010

Contrary to the findings of previous studies, 800 mg/d of DHA delivered via fish oil capsules does not lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improve cognitive or language development in their offspring during early childhood, according to one trial.

Contrary to the findings of previous studies, 800 mg/d of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) delivered via fish oil capsules does not lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improve cognitive or language development in their offspring during early childhood, according to a double-blind, randomized trial from Australia.

The study involved more than 2,000 women with singleton pregnancies of less than 21 weeks' gestation.

Researchers found that the percentage of women with high levels of depressive symptoms during the first 6 months postpartum did not differ between the group of women who took the DHA-filled capsules versus the group who took vegetable oil capsules without DHA (9.67% vs 11.19%; adjusted relative risk [RR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.70-1.02; P=.09).

Makrides M, Gibson RA, McPhee AJ, et al; DOMInO Investigative Team. Effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal depression and neurodevelopment of young children: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2010;304(15):1675-1683.