December 5, 2008
Folic Acid During Pregnancy Increases Risks
Being exposed to folic acid antagonists during pregnancy may lead to several serious conditions.
A new report finds the antagonists are associated with a higher risk of preeclampsia, placental abruption, fetal growth restriction or fetal death.
Folic acid antagonists include drugs used to treat several illnesses such as epilepsy, mood disorders, and hypertension. Since about half of pregnancies in industrialized countries are unplanned, there is a risk of being exposed to these medications unintentionally.
Researchers from Canada and China compared 14,982 women who had taken folic acid antagonists one year before they gave birth to 59,825 women who did not take the drugs. They found maternal exposure to the medications was associated with a slightly higher risk of bad pregnancy outcomes. They suggest re-classifying some folic acid antagonists and increasing folic acid supplements for women who need folic acid antagonists during pregnancy.
In a related commentary a physician suggests the study has some "thought-provoking findings" but says the results may not be ready for clinicians or policy makers to adopt yet.
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