Background: The effects of gestational supplementation with fish oil on risks for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), and pre-eclampsia (PE) have not been confirmed. In this study, a meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of fish oil supplementation on these gestational complications.
Material and methods: Randomized controlled human trials that investigated the effects of fish oil supplementation in pregnant women were identified by a systematic search of Medline, Embase, and Cochrane's Library, and references of related reviews and studies up to December 2014. Relative risks (RRs) for GDM, PIH, and PE were the outcomes of interest. Fixed-effects or random-effects models were applied according to the heterogeneity.
Results: Thirteen comparisons from 11 published articles, including more than 5000 participants, were included. The results showed that fish oil supplementation was not associated with reduced risks for GDM (RR=1.06, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.85-1.32, p=0.60), PIH (RR=1.03, 95% CI: 0.89-1.20, p=0.66), or PE (RR=0.93, 95% CI: 0.74-1.16, p=0.51). No statistically significant heterogeneity was detected for the comparison of each outcome. The effects of fish oil on these gestational complications were consistent between women with low-risk and high-risk pregnancies.
Conclusions: Gestational supplementation with fish oil during the second or third trimester of pregnancy is not associated with reduced risks for GDM, PIH, or PE. Other possible benefits of fish oil supplementation during pregnancy warrant further evaluation.