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Omega-3s may reduce preterm births

Carrying a pregnancy to full term increases chances of the child’s survival, healthy brain development, and immunity later in life.

In this study, doctors measured levels of omega-3s during the first and second trimesters in 376 women who gave birth very prematurely—before 34 weeks—and in 348 women who had full-term births.

Women whose combined circulating levels of EPA plus DHA were 1.6 percent or less of total plasma fatty acids were 10 times as likely to have a preterm birth compared to women whose levels were 1.8 percent or higher.

Commenting on the findings, doctors said, “At a time when many pregnant women are hearing messages encouraging them to avoid intake of fish altogether due to mercury content, our results support the importance of ensuring adequate intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy,” to help ensure a full-term birth and a healthy child.

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