Pregnant mothers who ate DHA-enriched eggs during the last three months
of pregnancy had an increased length of gestation, report researchers.
The team found that gestation increased by six days in the group taking
eggs with added docosahexaenoic acid (133mg DHA per egg) compared to
the ordinary egg (33mg DHA per egg) group. They report their findings
in this month's Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The study, which included 291 subjects, also showed a trend for higher
birth weight, length and head circumference with intake of the high-DHA
eggs, although the trend did not result in statistical significance.
The study's principal investigator Dr Susan E. Carlson, a Professor
in the department of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of
Kansas Medical Center, said: "These
data suggest that increasing DHA intake among pregnant women may have
great potential in optimizing pregnancy outcomes and the developmental
outcomes of their infants as well."Further research to explore the
role of DHA in gestation will be carried out in a larger study being
conducted at Denver Health Hospital, through a grant awarded to
Colorado State University.
Carlson has also studied development in a subset of infants born to
women in the pregnancy study. Infants born to women whose blood DHA
level was above the median had an accelerated developmental course for
attention in infancy compared to infants of mothers whose blood DHA
level was below the median. The data will be presented at the Society
for Research in Child Development in April.
"This evidence further validates DHA as a critical nutrient impacting infant growth and development," commented Henry Linsert, chairman and CEO of US company Martek Biosciences, which supplied the DHA for the study. "The potential benefits of increasing gestation length are significant."
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