DOMInO Trial

The DOMInO Trial was designed to test whether fish oil capsules rich in the omega-3 fatty acid Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) taken during the last half of pregnancy reduced the symptoms of postnatal depression at 6 weeks and 6 months, or improved development of the child at 18 months of age.

Children born to women who took part in the DOMInO Trial in South Australia have also taken part in research to help us understand how the level of DHA supplied to the baby during pregnancy may affect several important aspects of later growth and development, including;

  • DOMInO Trial Allergy Follow-up
  • DOMInO Trial Growth Follow-up
  • DOMInO Trial Developmental Follow-up

Principal Investigator

  • Professor Maria Makrides - Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) & South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

Chief Investigators

  • Professor Robert Gibson - The University of Adelaide, South Australia
  • Dr Peter Anderson - Royal Women’s Hospital, Victoria
  • Professor Paul Colditz - Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Queensland
  • Professor Lex Doyle - Royal Women’s Hospital, Victoria
  • Dr Andrew McPhee - Women’s & Children’s Hospital, South Australia
  • Professor Philip Ryan - Data Management & Analysis Centre, South Australia
  • Dr Lisa Yelland - Data Management & Analysis Centre, South Australia
  • Professor Julie Quinlivan - Joondalup Health Services & University of Notradame, Western Australia
  • Barbara Myer - University of Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Paul Else - University of Wollongong, New South Wales

DOMInO Trial Locations

Co-ordinating Site:

  • Child Nutrition Research Centre, Women’s & Children’s Health Research Institute, South Australia

Enrolling Sites:

  • Women’s & Children’s Hospital, South Australia
  • Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia
  • Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Queensland, Australia
  • Sunshine Hospital, Victoria, Australia
  • Campbelltown Hospital, New South Wales, Australia

Project Overview

The DOMInO Trial (Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) to Optimise Mother Infant Outcome) is a randomised, controlled, double-blind, multi-centre trial that included pregnant women from around Australia and was active between 2005 and 2008. Half of the women took DHA-rich fish oil capsules and the other half took vegetable oil capsules.

DHA is an omega-3 fat found in fish and fish oils and is thought to play a role in the way the brain works and develops. It has been suggested that supplementing the diet with DHA may reduce feelings of depression, while studies with young infants suggest that enriching the diet with DHA may also help improve visual development. While in the womb, the baby is supplied with DHA from the mother’s circulation. The level of DHA in the mother’s circulation is largely determined by the amount of DHA in the mother’s diet. Australian women generally have low levels of DHA. This trial was designed to help determine whether increasing the amount of DHA in the diet improves outcomes for women and their babies. For more detailed information about the trial, see the DOMInO Trial Information Sheet.

The assessments of post-natal depression and 18 month early childhood development were completed in 2010. Results of this research were published in the prestigious Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

A letter detailing the results from the DOMInO Trial was sent to women who took part. 


National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)


If you would like further information about the DOMInO Trial or any of the DOMInO Trial follow-up studies, please contact one of our research team.


Phone: +61 8 8161 8045

Postal Address

Women’s & Children’s Health Research Institute

72 King William Road

North Adelaide, SA 5006

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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna Nation.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and respects the traditional owners, the family clans who are the Kaurna Nation from the Adelaide Plains region of South Australia. We acknowledge the clans of the Kaurna Nation and the sacred knowledge they hold for their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna Nation, their ancestors and the descendants of these living family clans today.