Study shows early preterm births can be decreased with DHA s
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Early preterm births may be dramatically decreased with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements, with a dose of 1000 mg more effective for pregnant women with low DHA levels than the 200 mg found in some prenatal supplements, according to a study.

Early preterm birth, defined as birth before 34 weeks gestation, is a serious public health issue because these births result in the highest risk of infant mortality and child disability.

This randomized, multicentre, double-blind, adaptive-design, superiority trial was conducted in three USA medical centers. Women with singleton pregnancies and 12 to 20 weeks gestation were eligible. The planned adaptive design periodically generated allocation ratios favoring the better performing dose. Managing study personnel were blind to treatment until 30 days after the last birth.

The primary outcome was EPB by dose and by enrolment DHA status (low/high). Bayesian posterior probabilities (pp) were determined for planned efficacy and safety outcomes using intention-to-treat. Eleven hundred participants were enrolled. 1032 were included in the primary analyses.

--The higher dose had a lower EPB rate especially if participants had low DHA status at enrolment.

--Participants with high enrolment DHA status did not realize a dose-effect.

--The higher dose was associated with fewer serious adverse events.

In particular, clinicians could consider prescribing 1000 mg DHA daily during pregnancy to reduce EPB in women with low DHA status if they are able to screen for DHA.

EClinical Medicine