Prenatal Folic Acid Supplements Early in Pregnancy Reduce the Risk of Severe Language Delay in Children at 3 Years of Age
In a prospective, observational study involving an analysis of data from 38,954 children born before 2008 whose mothers completed a 3-year follow-up questionnaire including information about their use of folic acid supplementation in the interval from 4 weeks prior to conception through 8 weeks after conception, out of whom 204 (0.5%) were found to have severe language delay, maternal use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy was found to be associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at 3 years of age. Specifically, in children whose mothers took no dietary supplements (n=9,054), severe language delay was found in 81 children (0.9%). The adjusted ORs for for severe language delay were as follows: those whose mothers took other supplements but no folic acid (n=2,480, severe language delay in 22 children) had an OR of 1.04; those whose mothers took folic acid only (n=7,127, severe language delay in 28 children) had an OR of 0.55; those whose mothers took folic acid and other supplements (n=19,005, severe language delay in 73 children), had an OR of 0.55. The authors conclude, "Among this Norwegian cohort of mothers and children, maternal use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at age 3 years."
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