A recent study has revealed that taking prenatal vitamins could cut the chances of having a child with autism in half.
“It appears that women who reported taking prenatal vitamins starting three months prior to conception and through the first month after conception seem to have a reduced chance their child will develop autism,” says study researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD, professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the MIND Institute and Department of Public Health, University of California, Davis.
Results of the study, published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology, showed that in order for the vitamins to have any affect they needed to be ingested in during this four month period of time. Women who took the vitamins during their second month had no affect from the vitamins which suggests that by the time most women realize they are pregnant, it may be too late to take the supplements.
Scientists at the UC Davis MIND Institute conducted the study on 700 families with 2-to 5-year-old children with Autism. Researchers recruited children through a California project, the Childhood Autism Risks From Genetics and Environment Study, or Charge, enrolling 288 children with autism and 144 with autism spectrum disorders, and compared them with 278 children who were developing normally. Blood was drawn for genomic analysis, and mothers were asked about their consumption of vitamins before and during pregnancy.
The study is great news for the medical community as it provides a simple and fairly inexpensive method to reduce the risk of developmental disorders in children.
“Taking prenatal vitamin supplements even before conception is a concrete step concerned parents can take,” said Hertz-Picciotto.