a1 Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Århus, Hoegh-Guldbergsgade 8, DK-Århus C, Denmark
a2 Department of Biological Sciences, Royal Danish School of Pharmacy, Copenhagen, Denmark
a3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Århus, Århus, Denmark
a4 Technological Laboratory, Ministry of Fisheries, Technical University, Lyngby, Denmark
a5 Research Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark
It has been hypothesized that marine n-3 fatty acids ingested during pregnancy prolong duration of pregnancy and increase fetal growth rate in humans. By a combined self-administered questionnaire and interview applied in the 30th week of gestation we assessed dietary intake of marine n-3 fatty acids and energy in a population-based sample of 965 pregnant Danish women; in a random 14% subsample we also measured marine n-3 fatty acids relative to arachidonic acid (FA-ratio) in erythrocytes. Mean intake of marine n-3 fatty acids was 0·25 (95% range 0–0·75) g/d. We could detect no association between n-3 fatty acid intake and FA-ratio on the one hand, and gestation length, birth weight and birth length on the other. The analyses were adjusted for maternal height, prepregnant weight, parity and smoking. The conclusion from the study was that within the intake range of this population, marine n-3 fatty acids ingested in the weeks prior to the 30th week of pregnancy seem not to be a predictor of gestation length or fetal growth rate.
(Received September 06 1993)
(Revised June 15 1994)
(Accepted June 24 1994)
* Danish Epidemiology Science Centre, 5 Artillerivej, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.