Effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal depression and neurodevelopment of young children: A randomized controlled trial

Makrides, Maria, Gibson, Robert A., McPhee, Andrew J., Yelland, Lisa, Quinlivan, Julie, Ryan, Philip, Domino Investigative Team, Doyle, Lex W., Anderson, Peter, Else, Paul L., Meyer, Barbara J., Colditz, Paul, Pritchard, Margo Anne, Zhou, Shao, Collins, Carmel T., Gulpers, Zoe, McCusker, Suzanne, Naccarella, Nicola, Best, Karen, Loudis, Helen, Anderson, Amanda and Griffith, Elizabeth (2010) Effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal depression and neurodevelopment of young children: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association, 304 15: 1675-1683. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1507

Author Makrides, Maria
Gibson, Robert A.
McPhee, Andrew J.
Yelland, Lisa
Quinlivan, Julie
Ryan, Philip
Domino Investigative Team
Doyle, Lex W.
Anderson, Peter
Else, Paul L.
Meyer, Barbara J.
Colditz, Paul
Pritchard, Margo Anne
Zhou, Shao
Collins, Carmel T.
Gulpers, Zoe
McCusker, Suzanne
Naccarella, Nicola
Best, Karen
Loudis, Helen
Anderson, Amanda
Griffith, Elizabeth
Title Effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal depression and neurodevelopment of young children: A randomized controlled trial
Journal name JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0098-7484
Publication date 2010-10-20
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1001/jama.2010.1507
Volume 304
Issue 15
Start page 1675
End page 1683
Total pages 9
Place of publication Chicago, IL,United States
Publisher American Medical Association
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Uncertainty about the benefits of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for pregnant women and their children exists, despite international recommendations that pregnant women increase their DHA intakes.


To determine whether increasing DHA during the last half of pregnancy will result in fewer women with high levels of depressive symptoms and enhance the neurodevelopmental outcome of their children.


Setting, and Participants A double-blind, multicenter, randomized controlled trial (DHA to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome [DOMInO] trial) in 5 Australian maternity hospitals of 2399 women who were less than 21 weeks' gestation with singleton pregnancies and who were recruited between October 31, 2005, and January 11, 2008. Follow-up of children (n = 726) was completed December 16, 2009.

Docosahexaenoic acid–rich fish oil capsules (providing 800 mg/d of DHA) or matched vegetable oil capsules without DHA from study entry to birth.

Outcome Measures High levels of depressive symptoms in mothers as indicated by a score of more than 12 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at 6 weeks or 6 months postpartum. Cognitive and language development in children as assessed by the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition, at 18 months.

Of 2399 women enrolled, 96.7% completed the trial. The percentage of women with high levels of depressive symptoms during the first 6 months postpartum did not differ between the DHA and control groups (9.67% vs 11.19%; adjusted relative risk, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70-1.02; P = .09). Mean cognitive composite scores (adjusted mean difference, 0.01; 95% CI, −1.36 to 1.37; P = .99) and mean language composite scores (adjusted mean difference, −1.42; 95% CI, −3.07 to 0.22; P = .09) of children in the DHA group did not differ from children in the control group.

The use of DHA-rich fish oil capsules compared with vegetable oil capsules during pregnancy did not result in lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improved cognitive and language development in their offspring during early childhood.
© 2011 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
Keyword Child development
Depression, postpartum
Dietary supplements
Docosahexaenoic acid
Fish oils
Outcome of assessment (Health Care)
Plant oils
Randomized trials
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Nursing and Midwifery Publications
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Created: Tue, 22 Mar 2011, 14:20:29 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work