October 13, 2011
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.