Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are important for neurodevelopment. The effects of DHA (220mg/day, n=41), DHA+AA (220mg/day, n=39) or placebo (n=34) during pregnancy and lactation on neurodevelopment at 18 months, and the relations between umbilical cord DHA, AA and Mead acid and neurodevelopment were studied.

An age-specific, standardized neurological assessment for the evaluation of minor neurological dysfunction (MND), and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID) were used. The intervention did not influence any of the outcomes. Umbilical venous (UV) Mead acid was negatively and n-6 fatty acids were weakly positively associated to the BSID mental developmental index. Children with simple MND had lower UV DHA compared to normally classified children.

We conclude that relatively short-term maternal DHA or DHA+AA supplementation does not influence neurodevelopment at toddler age, although some parameters of brain development are related to perinatal DHA and AA status.