Psychological developmental benefits for children of mothers taking folic acid supplementation throughout pregnancy


  • A. Cassidy
  • M. McLaughlin
  • L. Henry
  • K. Pentieva
  • C. Walsh
  • H. McNulty
  • D. Lees-Murdock


Background: Folic acid supplements taken during the first trimester of pregnancy can have beneficial effects on children’s brain development. Little is known if continued supplementation throughout pregnancy has any additional effects. Method: A randomised controlled trial of folic acid supplementation in pregnancy, with parental rating using the Resiliency Attitudes and Skills Profile (RASP), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Child Short Form (TEIQue-CSF). Children aged 7 whose mothers received folic acid throughout pregnancy (n= 22) were compared to those whose mothers only received it during the first trimester (n=17). Findings: Children whose mothers received the full term supplement scored significantly higher on emotional intelligence (t=3.84 p=<.001) and resilience (t=5.03, p<.001). Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis identified folate level at 36th gestational week as an important predictor of emotional intelligence (EI) and resilience. Discussion: Folic acid supplementation continued throughout pregnancy may enhance psychological development in children.





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