Pregnant women do not currently meet the consensus recommendation for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (≥200 mg/day). Pregnant women in Australia are not receiving information on the importance of DHA during pregnancy. DHA pregnancy education materials were developed using current scientific literature, and tested for readability and design aesthetics.

The study aimed to evaluate their usefulness, the desire for pregnant women to receive these materials and whether a larger separate study (using a control group) is warranted to evaluate the influence the materials may have on increasing DHA consumption in pregnant women in Australia.

Pregnant women (N = 118) were recruited at antenatal clinics at two NSW hospitals. Participants completed a 16-item questionnaire and DHA educational materials (pamphlet and shopping card) were provided. Participants were contacted via phone two weeks later and completed the second questionnaire (25-item, N = 74). Statistics were conducted in SPSS and qualitative data were analysed to identify common themes.

Ninety three percent of women found the materials useful, with the main reason being it expanded their knowledge of DHA food sources. Only 34% of women had received prior information on DHA, yet 68% said they would like to receive information. Due to the small sample size and lack of a control group, this small study cannot provide a cause and effect relationship between the materials and nutrition related behaviours or knowledge, however the results indicate a potential positive influence towards increased fish consumption and awareness of DHA containing foods.

This suggests a larger study, with a control group is warranted to identify the impact such materials could have on Australian pregnant women.

PMID: 23549329

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