Document Detail

Effects of folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies during pregnancy on fetal, infant, and child development.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18709885     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The importance of folate in reproduction can be appreciated by considering that the existence of the vitamin was first suspected from efforts to explain a potentially fatal megaloblastic anemia in young pregnant women in India. Today, low maternal folate status during pregnancy and lactation remains a significant cause of maternal morbidity in some communities. The folate status of the neonate tends to be protected at the expense of maternal stores; nevertheless, there is mounting evidence that inadequate maternal folate status during pregnancy may lead to low infant birthweight, thereby conferring risk of developmental and long-term adverse health outcomes. Moreover, folate-related anemia during childhood and adolescence might predispose children to further infections and disease. The role of folic acid in prevention of neural tube defects (NTD) is now established, and several studies suggest that this protection may extend to some other birth defects. In terms of maternal health, clinical vitamin B12 deficiency may be a cause of infertility or recurrent spontaneous abortion. Starting pregnancy with an inadequate vitamin B12 status may increase risk of birth defects such as NTD, and may contribute to preterm delivery, although this needs further evaluation. Furthermore, inadequate vitamin B12 status in the mother may lead to frank deficiency in the infant if sufficient fetal stores of vitamin B12 are not laid down during pregnancy or are not available in breastmilk. However, the implications of starting pregnancy and lactation with low vitamin B12 status have not been sufficiently researched.
Anne M Molloy; Peadar N Kirke; Lawrence C Brody; John M Scott; James L Mills
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Food and nutrition bulletin     Volume:  29     ISSN:  0379-5721     ISO Abbreviation:  Food Nutr Bull     Publication Date:  2008 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-08-19     Completed Date:  2008-11-10     Revised Date:  2009-11-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7906418     Medline TA:  Food Nutr Bull     Country:  Japan    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S101-11; discussion S112-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
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MeSH Terms
Abortion, Spontaneous / blood
Child Development / physiology
Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
Child, Preschool
Congenital Abnormalities / prevention & control*
Folic Acid
Folic Acid Deficiency / blood,  complications*
Infant, Low Birth Weight / blood
Infant, Newborn
Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
Nutritional Status*
Pregnancy Complications / blood*,  epidemiology,  prevention & control
Pregnancy Outcome
Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
Vitamin B 12 / blood
Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / blood,  complications*
Women's Health
Reg. No./Substance:
59-30-3/Folic Acid; 68-19-9/Vitamin B 12

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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