Expanding Awareness of Docosahexaenoic Acid during Pregnancy

School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia. .
Nutrients (Impact Factor: 3.27). 04/2013; 5(4):1098-109. DOI: 10.3390/nu5041098
Source: PubMed


Pregnant women do not currently meet the consensus recommendation for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (≥200 mg/day). Pregnant women in Australia are not receiving information on the importance of DHA during pregnancy. DHA pregnancy education materials were developed using current scientific literature, and tested for readability and design aesthetics. The study aimed to evaluate their usefulness, the desire for pregnant women to receive these materials and whether a larger separate study (using a control group) is warranted to evaluate the influence the materials may have on increasing DHA consumption in pregnant women in Australia. Pregnant women (N = 118) were recruited at antenatal clinics at two NSW hospitals. Participants completed a 16-item questionnaire and DHA educational materials (pamphlet and shopping card) were provided. Participants were contacted via phone two weeks later and completed the second questionnaire (25-item, N = 74). Statistics were conducted in SPSS and qualitative data were analysed to identify common themes. Ninety three percent of women found the materials useful, with the main reason being it expanded their knowledge of DHA food sources. Only 34% of women had received prior information on DHA, yet 68% said they would like to receive information. Due to the small sample size and lack of a control group, this small study cannot provide a cause and effect relationship between the materials and nutrition related behaviours or knowledge, however the results indicate a potential positive influence towards increased fish consumption and awareness of DHA containing foods. This suggests a larger study, with a control group is warranted to identify the impact such materials could have on Australian pregnant women.

Download full-text


Available from: Heather Yeatman, Mar 12, 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A healthy diet during pregnancy is essential for normal growth and development of the foetus. Pregnant women may obtain nutrition information from a number of sources but evidence regarding the adequacy and extent of this information is sparse. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify sources of nutrition information accessed by pregnant women, their perceived needs for nutrition education, the perceptions of healthcare providers about nutrition education in pregnancy, and to assess the effectiveness of public health programs that aim to improve nutritional practices. The Scopus data base was searched during January, 2013 and in February 2014 to access both qualitative and quantitative studies published between 2002 and 2014 which focused on healthy pregnant women and their healthcare providers in developed countries. Articles were excluded if they focused on the needs of women with medical conditions, including obesity, gestational diabetes or malnutrition. Of 506 articles identified by the search terms, 25 articles were deemed to be eligible for inclusion. Generally, women were not receiving adequate nutrition education during pregnancy. Although healthcare practitioners perceived nutrition education to be important, barriers to providing education to clients included lack of time, lack of resources and lack of relevant training. Further well designed studies are needed to identify the most effective nutrition education strategies to improve nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviours for women during antenatal care.
    Maternal and Child Health Journal 04/2014; 18(10). DOI:10.1007/s10995-014-1485-0 · 2.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fish is a source of several nutrients that are important for healthy foetal development. Guidelines from Australia, Europe and the USA encourage fish consumption during pregnancy. The potential for contamination by heavy metals, as well as risk of listeriosis requires careful consideration of the shaping of dietary messages related to fish intake during pregnancy. This review critically evaluates literature on fish intake in pregnant women, with a focus on the association between neurodevelopmental outcomes in the offspring and maternal fish intake during pregnancy. Peer-reviewed journal articles published between January 2000 and March 2014 were included. Eligible studies included those of healthy pregnant women who had experienced full term births and those that had measured fish or seafood intake and assessed neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring. Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, ScienceDirect and the Cochrane Library were searched using the search terms: pregnant, neurodevelopment, cognition, fish and seafood. Of 279 papers sourced, eight were included in the final review. Due to heterogeneity in methodology and measured outcomes, a qualitative comparison of study findings was conducted. This review indicates that the benefits of diets providing moderate amounts of fish during pregnancy outweigh potential detrimental effects in regards to offspring neurodevelopment. It is important that the type of fish consumed is low in mercury.
    Nutrients 03/2015; 7(3). DOI:10.3390/nu7032001 · 3.27 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Populations are not meeting recommended intakes of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA). The aim was (i) to develop a database on n-3 LCPUFA enriched products; (ii) to undertake dietary modelling exercise using four dietary approaches to meet the recommendations and (iii) to determine the cost of the models. Six n-3 LCPUFA enriched foods were identified. Fish was categorised by n-3 LCPUFA content (mg/100 g categories as " excellent " " good " and " moderate "). The four models to meet recommended n-3 LCPUFA intakes were (i) fish only; (ii) moderate fish (with red meat and enriched foods); (iii) fish avoiders (red meat and enriched foods only); and (iv) lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (enriched foods only). Diets were modelled using the NUTTAB2010 database and n-3 LCPUFA were calculated and compared to the Suggested Dietary Targets (SDT). The cost of meeting these recommendations was calculated per 100 mg n-3 LCPUFA. The SDT were achieved for all life-stages with all four models. The weekly food intake in number of serves to meet the n-3 LCPUFA SDT for all life-stages for each dietary model were: (i) 2 " excellent " fish; (ii) 1 " excellent " and 1 " good " fish, and depending on life-stage, 3–4 lean red meat, 0–2 eggs and 3–26 enriched foods; (iii) 4 lean red meat, and 20–59 enriched foods; (iv) 37–66 enriched foods. Recommended intakes of n-3 LCPUFA were easily met by the consumption of fish, which was the cheapest source of n-3 LCPUFA. Other strategies may be required to achieve the recommendations including modifying the current food supply through feeding practices, novel plant sources and more enriched foods. Keywords: omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA); recommended intakes; suggested dietary target intakes; omega-3 (n-3) enriched foods; dietary modelling
    Nutrients 10/2015; 7(10):8602-8614. DOI:10.3390/nu7105413 · 3.27 Impact Factor