Early Folic Acid Supplement Initiation and Risk of Adverse Early Childhood Respiratory Health: A Population-based Study.Matern Child Health J. 2018 01; 22(1):111-119.MC
Objectives Folate plays a vital role in biologic functions yet women often do not meet the recommended dietary intake in pregnancy. It has been suggested that high folic acid intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of respiratory diseases in offspring. However, findings from observational studies in human populations are inconclusive. Methods In this population-based study, we collected self-reported folic acid and prenatal vitamin supplement use during pregnancy 3-6 months postpartum from mothers in Los Angeles whose children were born in 2003. Supplement initiation was based on whichever supplement, either folic acid or prenatal supplements, the women initiated first. In a 2006 follow-up survey, approximately 50% of women were re-contacted to gather information on the child's respiratory health, including symptoms and diagnoses, at approximately 3.5 years of age. Results Overall, timing of folic acid supplement initiation was not associated with wheeze or lower respiratory tract infection, even after accounting for preterm births and censoring at follow-up. However, children born to mothers with a history of atopy (hay fever, eczema or asthma) who initiate folic acid supplements in late pregnancy, compared to first trimester initiators, have 1.67 (95% CI 1.12, 2.49) times the risk of wheeze in the first 3 years of life and 1.88 (95% CI 1.05, 3.34) times the risk of wheeze in the past year. No association was found among children of non-atopic mothers. Conclusions These findings suggest that early folic acid or prenatal supplementation among atopic women may be important to prevent wheeze among offspring.