Study Says There's No Link Between Folic Acid And Twins

Results from a study involving almost a quarter of a million women in China show that taking folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects does not increase a woman's chances of giving birth to twins.
The study, which appeared in the February 1, 2003, issue of the British journal The Lancet, was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Peking University Health Sciences Center in China.

Studies conducted during the past several decades have shown the consumption of folic acid before conception and during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. However, the results of some earlier, smaller studies raised the question of whether an increase in multiple births can be associated with the consumption during pregnancy of vitamin supplements containing folic acid.

This is the first scientific study of its kind done on a large population of young women with accurate records of their folic acid use before conception and during the early months of pregnancy. Twin pregnancies often result in premature birth, leading to complications and long-term health problems for the children.

"This is good news for women in the United States, in China, and around the world," says Jos? Cordero, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. "Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy to prevent some serious birth defects in their babies should not increase a woman's chances of having a twin pregnancy."

Among the more than 240,000 women in the study, there was no difference in the rates of twin births for women who took a folic acid pill daily and those who did not take any.

Since the Public Health Service's 1992 recommendation urging women to increase their levels of folic acid prior to becoming pregnant, the incidence of spina bifida has been reduced by 32 percent in the United

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