February 01, 2016
1 min read

Folic acid supplementation in first trimester increases gestational diabetes risk

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The risk for gestational diabetes increases with daily folic acid supplementation in early pregnancy, according to study findings.

No risk was found with supplementation before pregnancy or during the second trimester, according to the researchers.

“Since increased consumption of [folic acid] has been prevalent, concerns about its negative consequences have been raised,” the researchers wrote. “Diverse adverse effects of [folic acid] have been identified, ranging from an increased risk of oral cleft malformations, asthma/respiratory tract infections, and small for gestational age infants to the more serious effects of a potential increased risk for cancers.”

Fangbiao Tao, PhD, of Anhui Medical University in China, and colleagues evaluated data from the China-Anhui Birth Cohort Study on 1,938 pregnant women who had either used folic acid supplements or never used any vitamin supplements to determine whether consumption of folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy increases the risk for gestational diabetes.

An increased risk for gestational diabetes was found with daily folic acid consumption in the first trimester (OR = 2.25; 95% CI, 1.35-3.76). Compared with participants with a prepregnancy BMI of less than 25 kg/m2 not taking folic acid supplements, a much higher risk for gestational diabetes was found among participants with a prepregnancy BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more and taking daily folic acid supplements (OR = 5.63; 95% CI, 2.77-11.46). No increased risk for gestational diabetes was found for women using folic acid before pregnancy or in the second trimester.

“Our study, for the first time, suggests that daily [folic acid] supplement consumption in early pregnancy increases the risk of [gestational diabetes], and further larger cohort studies are warranted to examine this adverse effect,” the researchers wrote. – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.