Multivitamin Use in Pregnancy Might Be Tied to Lower Autism Risk in Offspring — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
October 5, 2017

Multivitamin Use in Pregnancy Might Be Tied to Lower Autism Risk in Offspring

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM

Multivitamin use during pregnancy may be associated with reduced risk for autism in offspring, suggests an observational study in The BMJ. The researchers, however, emphasize "substantial limitations" to their analyses.

Using Swedish population and health registries, the researchers studied 273,000 mother-child pairs; the children were aged 4 to 15 years at the end of follow-up.

Autism with intellectual disability was diagnosed in 0.3% of children whose mothers took multivitamins during pregnancy, versus 0.5% of those whose mothers didn't take prenatal vitamins. After multivariable adjustment that included maternal neuropsychiatric conditions, multivitamin use was associated with a 30% lower risk for autism with intellectual disability. There was no association with autism without intellectual disability. Additionally, use of folic acid or iron alone was not linked to autism risk.

Noting the potential for confounding, the researchers caution, "These results on their own should not change current practice."

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