Omega-3 status test for prematurity risk

Omega-3 status test for prematurity risk
Project Status: In progress
Project administered by: The University of Adelaide

SA Pathology and SAHMRI are partnering to offer omega-3 testing for women with singleton pregnancies as part of the South Australian Maternal Serum Antenatal Screening (SAMSAS) program.

This will identify women who will benefit from omega-3 supplementation and appropriate advice to reduce their risk of early birth.

Updated National Health and Medical Research Council National Pregnancy Care guidelines recommend assessing omega-3 fatty acid status and supplementing pregnant women with low omega-3 intakes. The SA Pathology-SAHMRI collaboration will evaluate the feasibility and reach of the omega-3 screening.

Information for health professionals

Women with a singleton pregnancy and low omega-3 status (concentration) in their blood are at higher risk of early preterm birth than women with adequate omega-3 status. Supplementing women who are low in omega-3 reduces their risk of early birth. Screening before 20 weeks’ gestation will identify women who require omega-3 supplementation.

Omega-3 blood sample and cost

No additional blood sample is required as omega-3 analysis will be performed on serum collected as a part of the established SAMSAS program. The omega-3 fatty acid analyses will be performed at no cost to the patient or health service.

How to order the omega-3 status test?

  1. Discuss the omega-3 status test and refer woman to the Information for Families sheet.
  2. Order using the updated SAMSAS request form.
  3. Tick the omega-3 status test on the SAMSAS request form.
  4. Refer woman to the Privacy Disclosure on the SAMSAS request form.
  5. The omega-3 status test results will be reported to the requesting provider and will be available on OACIS.

For more information please download - Information for Health Professionals: Omega-3 status test for prematurity risk

brochure for professionals
Information for requesting providers
Information for health professionals
Evidence background
Information for families

Information for Families

Omega-3 fats are nutrients commonly found in fish and algae. Enough omega-3 in your body during pregnancy can help you have a full-term pregnancy. Babies born too soon (premature), 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 screening?

Women expecting one baby who have low omega-3 levels in their blood are at higher risk of having their baby born prematurely. They are most likely to benefit from omega-3 supplements. Women who have sufficient omega-3 levels are already at lower risk of having a premature baby and do not need to take additional omega-3 supplements. Screening or measuring omega-3 levels before 20 weeks of pregnancy will identify women who require omega-3 supplements. This project is evaluating how well an omega-3 screening program will work to reduce premature birth for women expecting one baby. There is not yet a screening test for women expecting twins or triplets.

Blood collection

After discussing with you, your health professional will order your omega-3 screening 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.


Information for families

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