Information for Aboriginal Families

Information for Aboriginal Families

Aboriginal Communities and Families Health Research Alliance (ACRA), South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and SA Pathology are partnering to offer omega-3 testing for Aboriginal Women as part of the South Australian Maternal Serum Antenatal Screening (SAMSAS) program.

Testing for omega-3 levels early in pregnancy will identify women who need omega-3 supplements to help their baby arrive on time.

Omega-3 fats are commonly found in fish. The right amount of omega-3 fats in your body during pregnancy can help your baby arrive on time. Babies born too soon, particularly those born before 34 weeks of pregnancy, may have lengthy stays in hospital and may experience long-term health problems and delays in development.

Why omega-3 testing?

Pregnant women who have low omega-3 levels in their blood are more likely to have their baby born early. These women may benefit from taking omega-3 supplements to reduce their risk of an early birth.

For women who have sufficient omega-3 levels supplements are not needed and provide no benefit to reduce their risk of early birth. If women are already taking omega-3 fatty acids as part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement and wish to continue, the dose of DHA and EPA should not be more than 250 mg per day.

Testing for omega-3 levels early in pregnancy will find women who need omega-3 supplements to help their baby arrive on time.

Blood collection

After discussing with you, your AMIC worker, midwife or healthcare professional will order your omega-3 test on the SA Maternal Serum Antenatal Screening (SAMSAS) request form. Your omega-3 level will be measured using the blood already collected for the SAMSAS program. The test is provided free to families.

Evaluation of omega-3 testing program

It is important to assess how many women have low omega-3 levels and how many babies were born early since the omega-3 testing started. This will see if testing and supplement advice for women who are low has reduced the number of early births in South Australia.

For more information speak to your AMIC worker, midwife, or healthcare professional.

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