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The idea that proper nutrition before and during a pregnancy is important is nothing new to any of us. However, a study conducted by University of California Davis School of Medicine shows that prenatal vitamins are important in reducing the risk of having a child diagnosed with autism. While the prenatal vitamins will not eliminate the risk of autism, they have the potential to cut the chances in half according to this study.
It was found that women who did not take prenatal vitamins three months prior to conception and during the first month of pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism. Also, a woman with a genetic predisposition to autism that did not take the vitamin supplements were found to be SEVEN times more likely to have a child diagnosed with autism.
Now, the flip side of the coin. This is good news (anytime we find a way to reduce the risk of autism is wonderful), but we do not live in a perfect world. Not all pregnancies are planned-I would surmise that most are not. Yet, the vitamin that was shown to be most effective in this study was folate. Folate is found in almost all daily vitamins for women. While prenatal vitamins may not be taken, the risk could still be lowered as long as a vitamin regime is followed at all times.
An abstract of the study can be found here.
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Do you think an awareness campaign should be implemented for this information? Do you believe most women are already on a daily vitamin? We would love to hear your thoughts on this issue!