According to research conducted by Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California, intake of prenatal vitamins can significantly reduce the chances of autism in your baby. The research concluded that expecting mothers who start the intake of prenatal vitamins, three months prior to conception and during the first of month conception can reduce the risk of their child developing autism.
The study titled CHARGE implying Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment was conducted on children aged two to five years. This age group was further categorized in three groups. The research was carried out from 2003-2009 and during this period it included 288 children affected with autism, 141 with autism spectrum disorder and 278 with typical development. During the research period, mothers were directed to dictate their use of prenatal vitamins before, during, and after pregnancy. In order, to check the genetic makeup, blood sample of all the patients was examined. The focus on genes was placed in order to keep a check on the Folate metabolism, which is significant for the development of the brain.
The research concluded that women of child bearing age, who do not consume prenatal vitamins, are at 60 per cent higher risk of their child developing autism. The genes are composed of MTHFR and COMT. If a mother has high risk of MTHFR, then the child is at a 4.5 times higher risk of developing autism. Similarly, when talking about child genetic makeup, children with high risk form of COMT is seven times more likely to develop autism. Mothers’ who switched to prenatal vitamins seem to have protected their child against the development of autism. Irva concluded that be it mothers’ genotype or child’s genotype, intake of prenatal vitamin can reduce the effect and absence of the vitamin intake can magnify the same.
The research which has been published online, guides the women of child bearing age or women planning for a baby to start intake of prenatal vitamins. Irva, the core researcher and PhD professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the MIND Institute and Department of Public Health at University of California, clarified that though a direct link between pre natal vitamins and birth defects cannot be established but the intake is advised for the reason that pre natal vitamins add to the high levels of Folate. The study is especially helpful for the mothers with genetic makeup who are considered to be high risk.