Relationship between umbilical cord essential fatty acid content and the quality of general movements of healthy term infants at 3 months

H Bouwstra, DJ Dijck-Brouwer, T Decsi, G Boehm, ER Boersma, FA Muskiet, M Hadders-Algra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Prenatal essential fatty acid (EFA) status might be an important factor in the development of the central nervous system (CNS). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between the fatty acid compositions of the umbilical blood vessels at birth, used as a proxy of prenatal EFA status, and quality of general movements (GMs) at 3 mo. Umbilical artery and vein fatty acid compositions were investigated in a mixed group of breastfed infants and infants fed with formula with or without long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) supplementation. At the age of 3 mo, video assessment of the quality of GMs was performed to evaluate neurologic condition. The quality of GMs was scored by assessing the degree of variation, complexity, and fluency. Outcomes were classified as normal-optimal, normal suboptimal, mildly abnormal, and definitely abnormal movements. Information on potential confounders, including the type of postnatal feeding, was collected prospectively. Associations between fatty acid status at birth and quality of GMs were investigated, and multinormal logistic regression analyses were carried out. None of the infants showed definitely abnormal movements. Infants with mildly abnormal GMs had a lower EFA index, lower arachidonic acid (AA) content, higher total n-9 fatty acid, and higher total monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content in the umbilical artery compared with infants with normal GMs. Multivariate analyses confirmed these findings. We conclude that mildly abnormal GMs are associated with a less favorable EFA status in the umbilical artery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-722
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May-2006


  • AGE
  • DIET

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