Folate Is Good for Neurodevelopment

Jill Rabin, MD

The latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association expands upon the accepted wisdom of the benefits of women taking folic acid (also called folate) before conception and during pregnancy.

Among a group of Norwegian mothers and children, the mothers’ use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at age 3 years. The study showed that the children of mothers who took folic acid before conception and in early pregnancy had a 45 percent lower risk of the language disability.

Obstetricians/gynecologists know that folate is good. This new study shows that there may be an additional benefit of folate supplementation in the pre and peri-conceptional period for early childhood language development, although additional studies are certainly needed. For now, there’s no reason for expectant mothers to change their current regimen—just keep taking your folate.


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IUDs: Effective for Most Women of Reproductive Age

Jill Rabin, MD

IUDs (intra-uterine devices) and hormonal implants are among the most effective reversible birth control available, according to a Practice Bulletin recently released by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

ACOG reflects the experience of many practitioners, including myself: IUDs are safe for use by many reproductive-age women. The unwanted pregnancy rate associated with IUDs is extremely low, and contraception is the initial reason most women use them. IUDs are safe and efficacious, including in women who haven’t had children.

While copper IUDs can remain in place for up to 10 years and hormonal IUDs up to five, it’s important to know that any IUD can be removed at any time. Potential side effects of hormonal IUDs include mood changes, acne, headaches, breast tenderness, pelvic pain and nausea. Copper IUDs have the additional possible side effects of cramping and increased bleeding during menstruation.

The hormonal implant is a small, rod-shaped unit (about the length of a matchstick) that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It releases a progestin hormone which suppresses ovulation for up to three years. With a pregnancy rate of .5 percent, it is the most effective method of reversible contraception available today. It is also one of the most under-utilized. Full Post - to Detail View