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Prenatal Supplements Can Decrease Autism Rates

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

folic acid iron reduces autism risk

Story at-a-glance -

  • Research supports the use of prenatal vitamins rich in folic acid and iron before conception to reduce the risk of autism in families where autism has already been diagnosed in an older child
  • Although data reveals an increased familial risk for autism, no autism gene has been discovered; scientists acknowledge development of autism is multifactorial and may be influenced by both genetics and environmental exposures
  • Further, research indicates supplementation with 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day during pregnancy may reduce the risk of obesity-related high blood pressure during childhood
  • Children with autism have demonstrably different bacterial colonies in their gut, which may have a significant impact on their ability to withstand vaccinations. Improving the gut microbiome of children in the first 20 days of life may also help reduce their risk for autism

Prenatal care has drastically changed in the last 100 years. Up until 75 years ago, nearly 66 percent of U.S. women had a home birth with no painkillers. The practice of modern obstetrics included a trend toward hospital births. Much of the first issues in obstetrics was the debate over analgesics used during childbirth and the effort to find something safe for both the mother and the child.

Nurses played an active role in starting prenatal care programs before hospital births became the norm and data demonstrated prenatal care reduced infant mortality. Routine evaluation for blood pressure, urine and weight were included in prenatal care visits. Since then, screenings have been added for other maternal risk factors and indicators of abnormal fetal development.


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