Supplementation of Omega 3 during Pregnancy and the Risk of Preterm Birth: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ramón Serra, Reyna Peñailillo, Lara Monteiro, Max Monckeberg, Macarena Peña, Lía Moyano, Camila Brunner, Georgina Vega, Mahesh Choolani, Sebastián Illanes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Preterm birth (PTB) is a major cause of neonatal death and long-term consequences for the newborn. This review aims to update the evidence about the potential benefit of pharmacological supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy on the incidence of PTB. The Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and Central databases were searched until 28 June 2020 for RCTs in which omega 3 supplementation was used versus placebo to reduce PTB risk. Data from 37 trials were analyzed. We found an 11% reduction in PTB risk (RR(risk ratios), 0.89; 95% CI (confidence intervals), 0.82 to 0.97) in trials using omega 3 supplements versus placebo. Regarding early PTB (ePTB), there was a 27% reduction in the risk of ePTB (RR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.92). However, after sensitivity analyses, there were no significant differences in PTB and ePTB risk (PTB RR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.01, ePTB RR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.61 to 1.09). We conclude that omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy does not reduce the risk of PTB and ePTB. More studies are required to determine the effect of omega 3 supplementations during pregnancy and the risk of detrimental fetal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1704
Issue number5
StatePublished - 18 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by National Agency for Investigation and Development, ANID: FONDECYT Regular 1201851 to S.E.I.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Meta-analysis
  • Omega 3 supplementation
  • Preterm birth


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