“Fish oil won’t make your unborn child smarter, but it might cook them a bit longer”
This is the claim made recently by medical reporter Brad Crouch on News.com.au on the 21st of August, 2015.
Fish oil is used by many Australians for joint complaints, heart and also brain health. Now research has investigated the theory that it might help the health of bubs brain development, but has turned up something a little different:
“While exploring a theory that fish oil might aid brain development in the foetus, South Australian researchers have stumbled upon a breakthrough indicating that a drop of fish oil taken daily by pregnant women appears to extend gestation by an average of two days.”
Though many babies are born healthy and at or close to full term, the implications may be minimal. For a group of Australian women who have premature births, the implications may be a lot bigger.
The article highlights:
“Prolonging gestation by just a day or two in a baby at risk of preterm birth can prevent long-term complications such as lung problems and reduce health care costs, experts say…. SAHMRI Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children section leader Professor Maria Makrides said that for babies at risk of early arrival, an extra two days is pivotal.”
So far the research is not sound enough to be generalisable, so further research will be carried out in the near future. The South Australian Health and Medical research institute will be recruiting 5500 pregnant women to further explore the findings. The research so far has impressed academic groups and won further funding to complete the project.
The future study will utilise a placebo and ask women to take a supplement daily. After the 34 week gestation mark, both groups will stop the intervention and results recorded.