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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 591531, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/591531
Research Article

The Effects of Maternal Supplementation of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Visual, Neurobehavioural, and Developmental Outcomes of the Child: A Systematic Review of the Randomized Trials

1Motherisk Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8
2Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8
3Research Insttitute, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8

Received 15 August 2011; Revised 11 October 2011; Accepted 18 October 2011

Academic Editor: Doreen M. Matsui

Copyright © 2012 Andrea Lo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) use in pregnancy has been promoted as beneficial for visual and neurobehavioural development in the fetus. However, no systematic review of the randomized trials has been conducted. The objective of this review was to evaluate potential advantages of this regiment by reviewing all randomized trials in pregnancy. Methods. Systematic review of randomized controlled studies comparing cognitive and visual achievements among infants whose mothers were treated and untreated with PUFA during gestation. Results. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria, three focusing on visual and six on neurobehavioural development. Due to differing outcome measurements in the infants, the studies could not be combined into a formal meta-analysis. Synthesizing the existing data, for both visual and neurobehavioural development, most studies could not show sustained benefits to infant cognition or visual development. Conclusion. At the present time a recommendation to change practice and supplement all expecting mothers with PUFA to improve offspring vision or neurobehavioural function is not supported by existing evidence.