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J Perinat Med. 2004;32(2):132-6.

Supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid in the last trimester of pregnancy: maternal-fetal biochemical findings.

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  • 1Unit of Infant Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital de Cruces, Baracaldo, Spain.


The nutritional significance of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPS) during the perinatal period is becoming increasingly important. There are currently very few studies on dietary intervention during gestation. The aim of the study was to analyze the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation during pregnancy on levels in both the newborn and the mother. A randomized placebo controlled study was carried out on 20 pregnant women in study group receiving 200 mg/day of docosahexaenoic acid-(DHA) during the last trimester of pregnancy. Results in both groups (A supplemented, B non-supplemented) highlighted a decrease in plasma arachidonic acid (5.99 +/- 0.91 vs. 4.51 +/- 0.71 p<0.001 for group A and 5.84 +/- 0.71 vs. 4.80 +/- 0.51 p<0.01 for group B) in the baseline-final intra-group comparison. The intergroup comparison revealed a significant difference in plasma DHA at delivery: it was found to be higher in the population of supplemented pregnant women (3.17 +/- 0.26 vs. 2.77 +/- 0.31). The neonate population displayed no significant differences between the two groups. The results show that LCPS are consumed during the final stages of pregnancy and that oral supplementation with 200 mg/day of DHA is reflected in an increase in the plasma level of this fatty acid in the mother. One could speculate that there would be a corresponding increase in DHA bioavailability for the fetus.

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