Folic Acid Supplementation throughout pregnancy: psychological developmental benefits for children

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To test the effect of folic acid supplements taken throughout pregnancy on children's psychosocial development.

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 6–7 whose mothers received folic acid throughout pregnancy (n = 22) were compared to those whose mothers only received it during the first trimester (n = 17).

Children whose mothers received the full‐term supplement scored significantly higher on emotional intelligence and resilience. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis identified folate level at 36th gestational week as an important predictor of emotional intelligence (EI) and resilience.

Although conclusions must be drawn with caution, this research presents a number of potential implications, the main one being a proposed policy recommendation for women to take folic acid for the duration of pregnancy rather than stopping at the end of the first trimester. The second is the potential for future research to explore the possible psychological and social development benefits and in line with this to try and identify the explanatory mechanism involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1370-1378
Number of pages9
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number8
Early online date22 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Jul 2018


  • Emotional intelligence
  • folic acid
  • prosocial behaviour
  • psychological adjustment
  • resilience


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