The ORIP Trial (Omega-3 fats to Reduce the Incidence of Prematurity) is a research study that investigated whether taking a fish oil rich in the omega 3 fat, called Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), during pregnancy will help prevent very premature delivery.

It was the largest clinical trial of omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy in the world. The study has finished recruiting and analysis of results is currently taking place.

Principal Investigator

  • Professor Maria Makrides, South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute


  • Dr Karen Best, South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute
  • Professor Robert Gibson, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Andrew McPhee, Women's and Children's Health Network
  • Dr Lisa Yelland, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Julie Quinlivan, Joondalup Health Campus

Project Overview

Most infants are born at term (around 40 weeks of pregnancy) but unfortunately some infants are born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Although we have made tremendous improvements in the care of premature infants there are still many health risks of being born too soon and these risks are greater the earlier the baby is born, particularly in those born very premature (less than 34 weeks).

DHA is found in fish and fish oils and is thought to have a number of health benefits including helping to maintain a pregnancy to full term. We have found evidence to support this when we conducted a study of DHA supplementation in over 2,000 pregnant women to see if DHA supplementation in pregnancy reduced the risk of postnatal depression in women or improved the development of children (the DOMInO trial). We observed that women who took DHA-rich fish oil from 20 weeks until birth had pregnancies that were 1-2 days longer than women in the control group. We also saw that fewer women in the DHA-rich fish oil group gave birth to very premature babies. However, this was offset to some extent by an increase in the number of women who had gone over their due date and were induced or had Caesarean-sections.

In the ORIP trial, we will examine the effects of taking DHA supplements in pregnancy more thoroughly and focus on the rate of preterm birth. We will use the same treatment as in the DOMInO trial, but we will start the supplementation earlier and stop the supplements at 34 weeks gestation. We hope that this can prevent very premature birth without increasing the need intervention by obstetricians because the pregnancy is going beyond the due date.

ORIP Trial Locations

Co-ordinating Site: Child Nutrition Research Centre, South Australia

  • Women’s & Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, South Australia
  • Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia
  • Noarlunga Hospital, Noarlunga, South Australia
  • Lyell McEwin Hospital, Elizabeth Vale, South Australia
  • Joondalup Health Campus, Perth, Western Australia
  • Werribee Mercy Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Mater Mothers' Hospital, South Brisbane, Queensland


  • National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)

Steering Committee

  • Professor Maria Makrides, South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute, Women’s & Children’s Health Research Institute, SA
  • Dr Shao Zhou, Women’s & Children’s Health Research Institute, SA
  • Professor Julie Quinlivan, Joondalup Health Campus, WA
  • Dr Andrew McPhee, Women's and Children's Health Network, SA
  • Dr Lisa Yelland, University of Adelaide, SA
  • Professor Robert Gibson, University of Adelaide, SA
  • Professor Jodie Dodd, University of Adelaide, Women's & Children's Health Network, SA
  • Professor Gus Dekker, University of Adelaide, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA
  • Jacqui van Dam, Werribee Mercy Hospital, Vic
  • Huda Safa, Mater Mothers’ Hospital, Qld

Further Information

For further information please contact one of the ORIP Trial Study Coordinators at: orip@sahmri.com


Listen to Professor Maria Makrides talk about the ORIP Trial.


Child Nutrition Research Centre: 08 8161 8045

Postal Address


Women’s and Children’s Hospital

72 King William Road, North Adelaide, SA 5006

Get in touch
+61 8 8128 4000 info@sahmri.com
You can't miss us!
North Terrace Adelaide 5000 South Australia
Postal Address
PO BOX 11060 Adelaide 5001 South Australia
Key Partners
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.