New medical research of interest to fathers and their pregnant wives highlights the complex role played by folate acid during a baby’s gestation.
It has long been accepted that ensuring a high intake of folate acid during pregnancy will help lessen the risk of birth defects in your newborn child.
However, it may also slightly increase the risk of wheezing and lower respiratory tract infection in the first 18 months of a child’s life.
That’s according to research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, which looked at the effect of folate supplements taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. Researchers looked at a sample of 32,077 children in Norway born between 2000 and 2005.
However, speaking to Reuters Health, lead author Dr Siri E. Haberg insisted the results remained preliminary and did not necessarily overturn established parenting advice.
"Women should not panic and they should definitely continue with their folic acid supplements," she said.
Folate and folic acid – its synthetic counterpart – are commonly found in such foods and drinks as broccoli, spinach, certain cereals and orange juice.