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Health promotion and public health
Increased intake of omega-3 during pregnancy can reduce preterm births
  1. Kate Frazer
  1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kate Frazer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; kathleen.frazer{at}

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Commentary on: Middleton P, Gomersall JC, Gould JF, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018;210. Art. No: CD003402. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003402.pub3

Implications for practice and research

  • Increasing omega-3 intake during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of preterm birth.

  • No further studies comparing omega-3 with placebo are required.

  • Future research should ensure inclusion of wider socioeconomic populations and assess longer term maternal and child outcomes.


The WHO defines preterm births as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy; 10.6% of all live births globally are preterm, and it is the leading cause of death for children aged <5 years.1 2 The causes of preterm births are complex; the role of diet and nutrition is acknowledged.1 Fish and fish oil contain omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA); particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been associated with longer …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it appeared Online First. The word ’fatty' has been removed from the title.