Folic acid in pregnancy may risk asthma in children

Study reveals folic acid in late pregnancy may increase risk of childhood asthma by 30%

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Mums who take folic acid during late pregnancy may have babies that are more likely to develop asthma, reports the Daily Mail. A study found a 30% increased risk for children whose mums took supplements of the vitamin between weeks 30 and 34 of their pregnancy.

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Women trying to conceive are advised to take a supplement of folic acid every day for 3 months beforehand, after stopping contraception, and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Experts at the University of Adelaide studied 557 expectant mums and looked into how many of their children had asthma at 3-and-a-half years and 5-and-a-half years.

The findings showed a link with folic acid taken beyond 12 weeks, but no association with it taken in early pregnancy.

But British experts are sceptical of the research. Terence Stephenson, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said, “The increased risk, if there is any, is only statistically significant.”

Leanne Metcalf, of Asthma UK, said: “While asthma is a serious and long term condition, the benefits of taking folic acid supplements in pregnancy, particularly with regards to prevention of birth defects like spina bifida, still outweigh the risk of developing asthma.”

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Click here to find out more about folic acid in pregnancy.

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