Close up on pregnant belly with medicine.The Question: Does use of high doses of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy cause any adverse effects?

The Study: The folic acid intake-both from diet and supplements-was determined for more than 2,200 pregnant women from four areas of Spain. Their intakes were evaluated twice during their pregnancies: at 10-13 weeks and again at 28-32 weeks. The psychomotor development of their children was measured after the children turned one year old.

The Results: Most of the women (57%) didn’t reach the recommended levels of folic acid intake (400 micrograms/day). About 25% of the women had an intake greater than the recommended maximum of 1,000 micrograms/day, and 3.5% exceeded 5,000 micrograms/day. The children of the mothers whose intake was over 5,000 had an increased risk of psychomotor development delay compared to the other children studied. The authors caution that the finding wasn’t considered statistically significant.

Comment: The importance of adequate folic acid intake during pregnancy is well established. But too much folic acid may also cause problems. The authors recommend further studies. However, prospective moms and pregnant women should think carefully before taking megadoses of folic acid.

Read More: JAMA Pediatrics, 11/14

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From issue: 30/03-04