Vitamin supply in pregnancy for prevention of congenital birth defects

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Abstract

Purpose of review: After the short summary of history of primary prevention of neural tube defects by folic acid or folic acid-containing multivitamin supplementation during the periconception period, the three main unsolved problems are highlighted. Recent findings: Both intervention trials and observational studies confirmed that this new primary preventive method is effective - beyond the prevention of neural-tube defects - in the reduction of the most common structural birth defects: congenital cardiovascular abnormalities. Nevertheless, this important progress in the field of congenital abnormalities is not appreciated appropriately. The periconception supplementation of both folic acid alone and folic acid-containing multivitamin is useful; however, the available data indicate the higher efficacy of multivitamins in the primary prevention of neural-tube defects and congenital cardiovascular abnormalities. The optimal dose of folic acid is not known though this knowledge would be necessary from both a scientific and practical aspect. Summary: Periconception folic acid or folic acid-containing multivitamin supplementation has resulted in a breakthrough in the primary prevention of neural-tube defects, cardiovascular abnormalities and probably some other defects; however, extra efforts are necessary to eliminate folic acid or folic acid-containing multivitamin preventable congenital abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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Folic Acid
Vitamins
Pregnancy
Neural Tube Defects
Cardiovascular Abnormalities
Primary Prevention
Observational Studies

Keywords

  • congenital cardiovascular abnormalities
  • folic acid
  • folic acid-containing multivitamins
  • neural-tube defects
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

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title = "Vitamin supply in pregnancy for prevention of congenital birth defects",
abstract = "Purpose of review: After the short summary of history of primary prevention of neural tube defects by folic acid or folic acid-containing multivitamin supplementation during the periconception period, the three main unsolved problems are highlighted. Recent findings: Both intervention trials and observational studies confirmed that this new primary preventive method is effective - beyond the prevention of neural-tube defects - in the reduction of the most common structural birth defects: congenital cardiovascular abnormalities. Nevertheless, this important progress in the field of congenital abnormalities is not appreciated appropriately. The periconception supplementation of both folic acid alone and folic acid-containing multivitamin is useful; however, the available data indicate the higher efficacy of multivitamins in the primary prevention of neural-tube defects and congenital cardiovascular abnormalities. The optimal dose of folic acid is not known though this knowledge would be necessary from both a scientific and practical aspect. Summary: Periconception folic acid or folic acid-containing multivitamin supplementation has resulted in a breakthrough in the primary prevention of neural-tube defects, cardiovascular abnormalities and probably some other defects; however, extra efforts are necessary to eliminate folic acid or folic acid-containing multivitamin preventable congenital abnormalities.",
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