Women's awareness of the importance of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption during pregnancy: knowledge of risks, benefits and information accessibility

Public Health Nutr. 2009 Apr;12(4):562-9. doi: 10.1017/S1368980008002425. Epub 2008 May 29.


Objective: To evaluate pregnant women's knowledge regarding the importance of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) consumption during pregnancy and assess their views on current information availability.

Design: A 27-item demographic and food safety/behaviour questionnaire was administered to pregnant women during their antenatal clinic visits. chi2 tests were performed using SPSS.

Setting: Antenatal clinics at two regional hospitals in New South Wales, Australia.

Subjects: One hundred and ninety (n 190) pregnant women.

Results: Three quarters of the women had not received information regarding LC n-3 PUFA. Approximately half of the women were aware of issues relating to LC n-3 PUFA; however, their knowledge was limited, with most obtaining their knowledge from books and magazines. Women generally had low (30 %, 29 %) to moderate (28 %, 24 %) levels of concern about LC n-3 PUFA and mercury, respectively.

Conclusions: Pregnant women lack knowledge of LC n-3 PUFA and health-care services do not provide pregnant women with adequate information on the importance of eating foods high in LC n-3 PUFA during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Risk
  • Seafood / adverse effects
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3