CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Doctors know women who are pregnant should make sure that they are getting enough folic acid to reduce the chance of birth defects.
For the first time a new study done by the Haifa University in Israel reveals that there is also a good chance that taking folic acid or a multivitamin or both before or during pregnancy can reduce your risk of having a child with autism by 73 percent.
"We know that the major portions of brain development the big key areas of brain initial development occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, so therefore it's important that you basically build things correctly and put all the pieces in place so that they go places, and it's thought here that somehow by taking these vitamins - which includes folic acid, it positively affects the development of the brain and nervous system," said Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a Pediatric Neurologist at University Hospital's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.
The study looked at 45,000 children, some mothers took supplements during pregnancy, some had not.
"So, it's simple. Take a vitamin every day before you get pregnant. Take a vitamin every day when you get pregnant, and your chances of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder drop, doesn't make it zero, but they drop," added Wiznitzer.
The research also reinforced that a healthy diet even before pregnancy also increases the chances of delivering a healthy baby.
The CDC already recommends that women of childbearing age take folic acid daily to reduce the risk of having a child with serious neurological disorders.