Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder characterized by impeded learning, communication, and social interaction. Antenatal nutritional supplements are routinely given to pregnant mothers to fill nutritional gaps and prevent developmental abnormalities at birth in offspring. The objective of this study is to assess if nutritional supplementation during pregnancy can reduce the risk of ASD in offspring.

This observational prospective cohort study included a total of 273,107 mother-child pairs, with the children aging between 4 and 15 years. The mothers with exposure to multivitamin, iron, and folic acid supplements were recognized. The primary outcome of the study was the incidence of ASD with and without intellectual disability.

The findings suggested that the prevalence of ASD with intellectual disability was 0.26% (158 of 61,394) in the multivitamin use group, as compared with 0.48% (430 in 90,480) in the no supplementation group. The use of multivitamins, both with and without folic acid or iron, was associated with lower odds of ASD with intellectual disability, compared with mothers who took no nutritional supplements.

The research concluded that the use of multivitamin supplementation, both with and without folic acid or iron, during pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of ASD with intellectual disability in offspring.

Ref: https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j4273