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DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1665

Research Paper

Introduction

The research that was evaluated regarding the PICOT question was important in determining DHA’s impact on expectant mothers and on newborn children and infants. The results from the studies that were evaluated were mixed and somewhat unexpected to the extent that DHA did not have as great of an impact as anticipated. This was important because it provided a greater sense of discovery regarding new perspectives to address DHA and its impact on pregnancy and child development. These factors require further exploration of the topic and additional research to determine the extent of the impact of DHA on pregnancy and child development for this patient population. It is important to evaluate research further as a means of determining the value of DHA supplements for pregnant women and their unborn children.

Analysis

The research that was evaluated offers a key distinction between different types of DHA supplements that are available, including those with arachidonic acid and those without this additional ingredient (van Goor et.al, 2010). The use of DHA supplements during pregnancy and lactation have become increasingly common in recent years; however, their effectiveness and impact on pregnant women is not yet fully understood (van Goor et.al, 2010). Therefore, it is important to identify the issues that are relevant in taking these supplements as opposed to leaving them out of the daily routine. Pregnant women must take all reasonable measures possible to preserve their health; therefore, it is important to identify the resources that are available to accomplish these objectives, while also considering other factors that contribute to achieving realistic outcomes to improve child development on many levels.

The study by van Goor et.al (2010) is relevant because it plays a role in determining whether or not DHA on its own or DHA with additional arachidonic acid are effective in promoting a higher level of brain development in patients, and the study appears to negate the belief that DHA has a positive impact on child development, movement, and overall brain functioning (van Goor et.al, 2010). This study, which used a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized strategy, placed participants into one of three groups: those with DHA only, those with DHA and AA, and those with a placebo (van Goor et.al, 2010). Based upon the study results and the use of a standard neonatal neurological examination, general movements were not affected by the use of either DHA on its own or DHA and AA, and furthermore, the quality of movements was reduced in the DHA group; as a result, DHA and AA promote a higher level of sensitivity for infants who have been exposed to these supplements (van Goor et.al, 2010). In this capacity, therefore, it is likely that additional studies are required to determine if DHA has a different impact, or if the study demonstrates a widespread trend for this population (van Goor et.al, 2010). These issues tend to argue against the trends that currently exist regarding improvements in child development as a result of DHA (van Goor et.al, 2010).

The study by Makrides et.al (2014) served as a follow-up for a group of children who had been born to mothers who were taking DHA supplements during their pregnancy. For this follow-up, 646 children were selected for evaluation, and the study used the General Conceptual Ability (GCA) score as a form of evaluation, with 313 in the DHA group and 333 in the control group (Makrides et.al, 2014). The results indicated that there were no significant differences between groups with respect to GCA scores, and the DHA group experienced lower scores regarding some elements of behavior and executive functioning (Makrides et.al, 2014). Therefore, this study supports an ever-growing belief that DHA supplementation is not as effective as originally thought, and that as children age, environmental factors may have a greater impact on the response to different perspectives regarding cognitive, executive, and language functioning (Makrides et.al, 2014). In spite of reported findings regarding reduced executive functioning in some subjects, these differences were minimal and generally did not have any real impact on how DHA supplementation is evaluated for this population group (Makrides et.al, 2014).

A study by Granot et.al (2011) addressed the significance of DHA during pregnancy and the lactation phase in regards to the immune response in infants. This study evaluated 60 pregnant women from a religious community, 30 of whom were randomized to receive 400 mg/day DHA, beginning from 12 weeks gestation to 4 months postpartum (Granot et.al, 2011). All infants in this study were breast fed, and at 4 months, blood was drawn for CBC, immunoglobulin, lymphocytes, and anti-HB antibodies (Granot et.al, 2011). The study results indicate that infants who have received DHA supplementation through the mother and breastfeeding have a different type of lymphocyte profile; however, they did not exhibit any real differences in the humoral immune response (Granot et.al, 2011). These findings suggest that the primary differences for these patients involve CD4 naïve cells, accompanied by reduced CD4 and CD8 IFN, thereby increasing the potential level of inflammatory response in patients (Granot et.al, 2011). The study further demonstrates that although DHA supplementation is somewhat beneficial to the immune response, this has not been sufficiently proven to facilitate the response level that could impact how DHA supplementation is evaluated for possible use in large groups of pregnant and lactating women (Granot et.al, 2011).

Each of the studies that have been described offer a different point of view regarding how DHA supplementation is viewed for use in pregnancy, as it has been met with mixed and unproven results. Therefore, physicians must exercise caution when recommending DHA for their patients so that they do not make any promises to their patients that this will provide significant benefits to unborn children, particularly since these benefits have not been proven. Physicians should evaluate existing clinical evidence more closely in order to determine if DHA supplementation is appropriate for their patients. This is an important step in order to use existing clinical evidence wisely so that pregnant women are provided with effective advice and recommendations regarding DHA supplementation, including a realistic approach regarding its benefits for pregnant women.

These studies contribute to the discussion because they impact how DHA supplementation for pregnant women should be considered for future use and in future studies. This perspective is relevant because it requires an understanding of DHA as a supplement and whether or not it is effective in supporting child development and improving outcomes for pregnant women. Clinical studies must demonstrate the importance of new insights regarding DHA supplementation in order to obtain further evidence that will demonstrate the importance this concept to aid pregnant women in achieving a healthier pregnancy and in supporting child development during gestation and after birth. The research studies used as an example provided a number of resources regarding the use of DHA and its impact on pregnancy and on infants.

The selected research articles offer a means of developing new research concepts and methods to ensure that DHA supplementation is a viable alternative with real benefits for pregnant women. This requires an examination of a number of key variables that impact the use of DHA, as well as an examination of possible environmental factors that may impact the nature of a pregnancy and the events that might occur. This is an ongoing necessity that requires a new perspective to ensure that research is appropriate, safe, and likely to be beneficial for pregnant women at different stages. These alternatives are essential to the future direction of research in this area, as well as to accomplish an improved understanding of DHA as a viable resource for pregnant women to stimulate cognitive development and executive functioning. New studies should explore how DHA affects pregnancy and lactation in conjunction with environmental factors that may contribute to negative behaviors and functioning, particularly when pregnant mothers are a product of their environments and exhibit poor habits that may interfere with pregnancy-related outcomes. Therefore, it is essential to convey the challenges of developing new strategies to ensure that pregnant women have the best possible prenatal and postpartum care, which may or may not include DHA supplementation. Regardless of the circumstances, accuracy and truth information regarding DHA and safety for all pregnant mothers is essential to this process. There are critical factors to consider that have an impact on patient outcomes and that demonstrate the importance of developing new methods to ensure that DHA supplementation is evaluated in future studies to prevent long-term complications or other concerns that could influence outcomes for pregnant women and their children in the womb and after birth.

Conclusion

The research studies that were evaluated regarding DHA supplementation demonstrate the importance of this topic and its value throughout pregnancy and into lactation as a possible benefit in child development. Due to the somewhat mixed messages that this supplement has provided to date, additional research is critical in order to determine how DHA might be beneficial to pregnant women, or if it is not a viable alternative regardless of the circumstances. This process is critical to the success of a given research protocol that demonstrates a new and innovative approach to this topic, rather than to demonstrate a limited scope or a topic that has already been explored regarding this subject. Future studies must address the safety and efficacy of DHA supplementation and its level of benefits for pregnant women and the development of their children.

References

Granot, E., Jakobovich, E., Rabinowitz, R., Levy, P., & Schlesinger, M. (2011). DHA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation affects infants’ cellular but not humoral immune response. Mediators of inflammation, 2011.

Makrides, M., Gould, J. F., Gawlik, N. R., Yelland, L. N., Smithers, L. G., Anderson, P. J., & Gibson, R.(2014). Four-year follow-up of children born to women in a randomized trial of prenatal DHA supplementation. JAMA, 311(17), 1802-1804.

van Goor, S. A., Janneke Dijck-Brouwer, D. A., Doornbos, B., Erwich, J. J. H., Schaafsma, A., Muskiet, A., & Hadders-Algra, M. (2010). Supplementation of DHA but not DHA with arachidonic acid during pregnancy and lactation influences general movement quality in 12-week-old term infants. British journal of nutrition, 103(02), 235-242.

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