Taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy may help to reduce the risk of a child’s developing autism.
Researchers conducted an observational study of 305 mothers and 332 children, of whom 241 had a sibling with autism. The prenatal vitamin supplements examined were folic acid and iron, which are recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Some of the supplements were included in multivitamins. Only 14.1% of children whose mothers took vitamins in the first month of pregnancy were diagnosed with autism, compared with 32.7% of children whose mothers did not take vitamins at that time.
Results, published in JAMA Psychiatry, also found that higher doses of folic acid supplementation were associated with a greater reduction in autism risk.
The researchers say that future research should look at other nutrients in supplements that may impact autism, as well as foods, type of diet and measurements of nutrient intake.