Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation (DHA) and the return on investment for pregnancy outcomes


      • Early preterm birth (ePTB) occurs before 34 weeks gestation.
      • ePTB cost the US approximately USD 10.6 Billion in 2014.
      • Public policy effort to increase DHA intake of pregnant women is important.


      The Kansas University DHA Outcomes Study (KUDOS) found a significant reduction in early preterm births with a supplement of 600 mg DHA per day compared to placebo. The objective of this analysis was to determine if hospital costs differed between groups. We applied a post-hoc cost analysis of the delivery hospitalization and all hospitalizations in the following year to 197 mother-infant dyads who delivered at Kansas University Hospital. Hospital cost saving of DHA supplementation amounted to $1678 per infant. Even after adjusting for the estimated cost of providing 600 mg/d DHA for 26 weeks ($166.48) and a slightly higher maternal care cost ($26) in the DHA group, the net saving per dyad was $1484. Extrapolating this to the nearly 4 million US deliveries per year suggests universal supplementation with 600 mg/d during the last 2 trimesters of pregnancy could save the US health care system up to USD 6 billion.


      DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), DRG (Diagnosis-related group), ePTB (Early preterm birth), HCUP (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project), KUDOS (Kansas University DHA Outcomes Study), DOMInO (DHA to Optimize Mother and Infant Outcome)


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