Analysis of hospital cost outcome of DHA-rich fish-oil supplementation in pregnancy: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2015 Dec:102-103:5-11. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2015.08.002. Epub 2015 Sep 3.


Objective: Recent research emphasized the nutritional benefits of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) during pregnancy. Based on a double-blind randomised controlled trial named "DHA to Optimize Mother and Infant Outcome" (DOMInO), we examined how omega 3 DHA supplementation during pregnancy may affect pregnancy related in-patient hospital costs.

Method: We conducted an econometric analysis based on ordinary least square and quantile regressions with bootstrapped standard errors. Using these approaches, we also examined whether smoking, drinking, maternal age and BMI could influence the effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on hospital costs.

Results: Our regressions showed that in-patient hospital costs could decrease by AUD92 (P<0.05) on average per singleton pregnancy when DHA supplements were consumed during pregnancy. Our regression results also showed that the cost savings to the Australian public hospital system could be between AUD15 - AUD51 million / year.

Conclusion: Given that a simple intervention like DHA-rich fish-oil supplementation could generate savings to the public, it may be worthwhile from a policy perspective to encourage DHA supplementation among pregnant women.

Keywords: Australia; DHA-rich fish oil supplementation.; Health economics evaluation; Hospital cost analysis; Pregnancy and birth outcomes; Randomized trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / economics
  • Cost Savings
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Dietary Supplements* / economics
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / economics
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / economics
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / economics
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / economics
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Propensity Score
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / economics
  • South Australia


  • Fish Oils
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids