A new Cochrane Review published today of 70 studies worldwide, including nearly 20,000 pregnant women, shows that omega-3 fatty acids, the kind found in seafood and marine oils, reduces early premature birth by 42%.
“This comprehensive review of studies definitively shows that women at risk of premature birth should all eat fish and/or be on a fish oil supplement as early as possible,” said Dr. Tom Brenna, professor of pediatrics, of chemistry, and of nutrition at Dell Medical School and College of Natural Science at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of Seafood Nutrition Partnership Scientific & Nutrition Advisory Council. “The omega-3 benefits are immediate in dramatically cutting the risk of dangerous preterm birth, one of the major causes of illness in newborns.”
Other highlights from this 2018 Cochrane Systematic Review include:
- 11% reduction in preterm births <37 weeks (of 40 weeks=9 months normal gestation)
- 42% reduction in dangerous (high risk) preterm births (<34 weeks)
- 10% reduction in risk of having a low birth weight baby (<2500 grams=5.5 lbs)
Additionally, data from other studies show that omega-3s likely benefit baby’s brain development and improve the mother’s mood in the long term. Together with the large-scale VITAL and REDUCE-IT studies announced last week at AHA regarding omega-3s and heart disease risk reduction, high-quality evidence is mounting that regular intake of omega-3s is important for good health.