According to a study by the University of California, women who did not take prenatal vitamins were twice as likely to have children with autism. If the family of the woman already has a genetic predisposition to having autism, the incidence was seven times more likely.
As part of the research, 700 women were asked to record their vitamin intake before, during and after pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins typically have high amounts of Vitamin B and folic acid (the synthetic form of folate), which are essential for the fetus’s brain development. It is these components that the researchers believe contribute to lessening the risk for autism in babies.
Says lead researcher Rebecca J. Schmidt, “The good news is that if this finding is replicated, it will provide an inexpensive, relatively simple evidence-based action that women can take to reduce risks for their child, which is to take prenatal vitamins as early as possible in a pregnancy and even when planning for pregnancy.”
While the cause of autism is still largely a mystery, experts believe that genetics plays a big role, as well as environmental factors and the mother’s nutritional intake during pregnancy. This study lets moms make an actual step into preventing autism in their child through prenatal vitamins.
Sources: • May 30, 2011. Atula. “Study: Early Prenatal Vitamin Use May Prevent Autism” GrowingYourBaby.com • May 25, 2011. “Women Who Start Prenatal Vitamins Early Are Less Likely to Have Children with Autism, Study Finds” ScienceDaily.com