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Recruiting Study Participants

Join a study by the Christifano Research Laboratory at KU Medical Center.

Optimizing Adherence to DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy (OPT DHA)

woman touching pregnant belly

What is OPT DHA?

OPT DHA is a research study through KU Medical Center focused on the effects of different applications of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation during pregnancy.

DHA is an essential fatty acid found in seafood, eggs, and prenatal vitamins. DHA is beneficial to the developing baby during pregnancy and may help prevent early preterm birth (before 34 weeks gestation) and improve birth outcomes.

Participant eligibility:

  • Must be between 12 and 20 weeks pregnant with a singleton and without underlying medical conditions.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must speak English.
  • Must be willing to take DHA supplements.

Participants are randomly assigned to one of these groups:

  • Capsule Group: Participant receives DHA supplement in capsule form and will take three per day, totaling 750 mg of DHA.
  • Chew Group: Participant receives DHA supplement in a chew form (like a Starburst candy) and will take three per day, totaling 750 mg.
  • Choice Group: Participant will choose the capsule or chew form of the DHA supplement and will take three per day, totaling 750 mg.

What to Expect

Baseline visit

The baseline visit is approximately 1.5 hours and includes surveys and interviews about medical and diet history, medication and supplement use, and a blood draw. Participants will be enrolled and randomized to one of the three groups noted above and will receive the first month’s supply of the DHA supplement at this visit.

After enrollment

Participants will take their DHA capsules or chews three times per day until delivery. A new bottle of capsules or packet of chews will be mailed approximately every 30 days. Study staff will contact participants every four weeks via phone or email to check in on supplement intake and changes to medications, supplements or medical history.

At delivery

Participants will notify study staff when they have been admitted for delivery. Study staff will collect data about birth outcomes as well as obtain a maternal blood draw and cord blood draw.


There is no cost to participate in this study. Participants will receive free DHA supplements throughout pregnancy, $75 for attending the baseline visit, and $75 at delivery.

If you are interested in participating, email us at or call 913-945-9149 or 913-588-1906 (711 TTY).

School of Health Professions

Dietetics and Nutrition
KU Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 4013
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-5355 • 711 TTY