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Folic acid in early pregnancy linked to respiratory infection

Folic acid supplements in the first three months of pregnancy are associated with a small increase in the risk of early respiratory infections and wheeze, Norwegian research suggests.

Data from questionnaires answered by the mothers of 32,000 babies at several points during pregnancy and up to 18 months after birth found a 6% increase for risk of wheeze, 9% for lower respiratory tract infections and 24% for risk of hospitalisation in those exposed to folic acid during the first trimester.

The researchers speculated that early childhood respiratory health might be affected by the possible epigenetic influences of methyl donors in the maternal diet during pregnancy.

Arch Dis Child 2008; early online publication

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