Prenatal Vitamins and Autism

November 12, 2012

Prenatal Vitamins and Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s social and communication skills. The condition usually manifests in the first three years of the child’s life. The use of prenatal vitamins may lower your baby’s risk of getting autism.


The exact cause of autism is not known. Most researchers believe that the condition occurs due to abnormalities in the brain, which are triggered by certain genetic and environmental factors. Other possible causes include diet, mercury poisoning, vaccines and food allergies. The symptoms of the condition vary significantly as well. They involve different aspects of a child’s life, and lead to impaired language, repetitive behaviors, and social difficulties. Early diagnosis and behavioral therapy may help the child blend into the society. Many children with autism grow up to have normal social and professional lives.

Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are multivitamin supplements that all pregnant women should take for a successful pregnancy. These supplements contain some vital nutrients that are essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development. Taking prenatal vitamins during the first trimester of pregnancy lowers the risk of neural tube defects in the baby. However, you have to remember that all vitamin supplements are not same. Make sure your supplement has:

  • 400 mcg of folic acid
  • 400 IU of vitamin D
  • 200 to 300 mg of calcium
  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 3 mg of thiamine
  • 2 mg of riboflavin
  • 20 mg of niacin
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 10 mg of vitamin E
  • 15 mg of zinc
  • 17 mg of iron

The Link

Latest research has revealed that taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy may reduce your child’s risk of developing autism spectrum disorders. This is especially true for women who started taking the vitamin supplements about three months prior to conception, and continued taking them through the first month after conception. The vitamins benefitted mothers and children who were genetically prone to getting autism.

The researchers looked at three groups of children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. These children were participating in CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment study from 2003 to 2009, and included children with autism as well as those with typical development. Researchers evaluated blood samples from the mothers and children for their genetic constitution. They found that children of women who did not take prenatal vitamins had a 60 percent greater chance of developing autism. The probability will be higher if the mother and the child had the genes for autism.

The researchers of the study, therefore, recommend prenatal vitamins to all women who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant to lower your child’s risk of autism.

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