Taking Prenatal Vitamins Early May Cut Risk of Autism

Those of you trying to get pregnant will want to be aware of some new research on autism.

A California study suggests that taking prenatal vitamins in the first three months before conceiving and the first month of pregnancy may reduce the risk of having a child with autism by 40 percent.

Forty percent! I’m no expert in autism but that strikes me as big news.

To do the study, researchers collected data from some 700 families with children age 2 to 5 who had autism or normal development and asked mothers whether they had taken prenatal vitamins in the months around conception.

The finding only appeared for women who had taken the vitamins before conception or early in their pregnancies. After the first month of pregnancy, there was no difference in the autism risk between mothers who took vitamins and those who did not.

The mother’s education level and birth year of the child were taken into account so those differences do not explain the study results.

You can learn more about this new research here. I first heard about it on this National Public Radio piece on autism.

The study appears in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology .


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A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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