Intake of long chain w3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy and the influence of levels in the mother on newborn levels

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1999 Apr;83(2):179-84. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(98)00243-7.


Objective: To assess the relationship between the free intake of long chain w3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (w3 LCP) during pregnancy and the levels in the mother with the levels in the neonate.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: University hospital.

Subjects: One hundred and sixty-two mother-neonate pairs from normal at-term pregnancies.

Main outcome measure: Dietetic interview in order to assess the w3 LCP intake. w3 LCPs were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography in plasma (expressed as percentage and as total amount) and in erythrocyte phospholipids (expressed as percentage) from mothers and neonates.

Results: The w3 LCP intake assessed by the dietetic interview was significantly correlated with w3 LCP levels in the plasma of both mothers and neonates. The levels of w3 LCPs in mothers and neonates were significantly correlated both in plasma fatty acids (expressed both as a percentage and absolute values) and in erythrocyte phospholipids (in percentage) (r=0.49-0.22).

Conclusion: In an apparently well-nourished population the w3 LCP levels of the newborn infants are clearly influenced by those of their mothers. The higher the levels in mothers, the higher those in the neonates. The w3 LCP intake assessed by an interview also showed a significant influence, but to a lesser extent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / blood*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Phospholipids / blood
  • Pregnancy / blood*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Phospholipids