Infants born to diabetic mothers have a higher frequency of impaired neurodevelopment. The omega-3 or n-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an important structural component of neural tissue and is critical for fetal brain development. Maternal DHA supplementation during pregnancy is linked to better infant neurodevelopment; however, maternal-fetal transfer of DHA is reduced in women with diabetes. Evidence of mechanisms explaining altered maternal-fetal DHA transfer in this population is limited. This review explores existing evidence underpinning reduced maternal-fetal DHA transfer in maternal fuel metabolism in this population. Further research is necessary to evaluate the role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in modulating placental fatty acid binding and maternal-fetal DHA transfer. Considerations for clinical practice include a diet high in DHA and/or provision of supplemental DHA to obstetric diabetic patients within minimum guidelines.

PMID: 27142302

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