by Mommy MD Guide Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH
A new study, published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that low levels of folate in moms-to-be is linked to the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity problems in children at age seven to nine years.
Folate is the natural form of folic acid. It’s long been believed that folate is key for a baby’s healthy nervous system development.
The researchers noted that the long term effects of poor maternal nutrition might even affect a child’s ability to interact with peers or form social bonds.
The researchers also found that children born from mothers with a low folate status had a notably smaller head circumference at birth. This finding might indicate a smaller rate of prenatal brain growth in children adversely affected by low folate levels.
The results of this study are especially a cause for concern among low-income populations where the nutritional health of the mother is a low priority, and women are less likely to take folate supplements in advance of pregnancy.