Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Preventing Autism Prenatally

Creative Commons License photo credit: shauryashaurya

There’s a lot of information out there today about autism and its causes. There’s also a lot of misinformation. Opportunists seeking to make a name for themselves (and some big bucks along the way) have spread all sorts of unproven or even downright false information. That’s why it’s so important, when there is a true scientific discovery in the area of autism, to take a look.

According to a new study at UC Davis, there is now reason to think that something as simple as taking your prenatal vitamins may actually help reduce the risk that your baby will have autism.

The study found that those pregnant women who did not take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy were as much as twice as likely to have their child diagnosed later on with autism. This is a significant statistic, but what’s even more frightening is the numbers for women who have certain genetic risks. Those women with a genetic predisposition to having a child with autism were up to seven times as likely to have a child with autism compared to women with the same risk who took prenatal vitamins.

So, what does that tell us? Well, there are a few nuggets of wisdom we can pull from this:

  • Prenatal vitamins are worth taking even before you’re pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive, consider starting your prenatal vitamins now.
  • If you’re having trouble with your prenatal vitamins (for example, if they make you nauseous) talk to your doctor. You may need a vitamin with lower iron content. Dropping them altogether isn’t a viable solution, now more than ever.
  • More research is vital. Again, because of all of the focus on autism in the media, it’s important that researchers continue to find ways not only to try to identify the possible causes of autism, but how to treat it effectively.

Missing your prenatal vitamin for a day isn’t going to make your child have autism, of course. Still, it’s more important now than ever to make sure that you are taking them, and taking them regularly.