Expectant mothers may want to take prenatal vitamins to support the health of their baby, as a large study has found that there’s a reduced risk of autism spectrum disorder in children whose mothers take multivitamins while pregnant.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that can affect how people communicate and see the world. Common behavioural difficulties may include social communication and social interaction challenges, extreme anxiety, along with repetitive and restrictive behaviour.
What The Autism Risk Study Shows
Research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), collected data from 273,107 women and children between 1996 and 2007. The children were between 4 to 15 years of age by the time the study ended in 2011. 
On their first prenatal appointments, women reported their use of folic acid, iron, and multivitamin supplements. When compared with the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in children during this study period, the findings indicated that:
- Multivitamin use during pregnancy, with or without additional iron and/or folic acid supplementation, was associated with a lower risk of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability in children
- More specifically 0.48% of children whose mothers did not take multivitamin supplements while pregnant, developed autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability compared to 0.26% of children whose mothers took multivitamins
This study reinforces the importance of taking multivitamins for a healthy pregnancy. In particular, prenatal multivitamins have been found to support full-term pregnancy, while maternal folic acid intake is associated with a lower risk of birth defects. It’s also considered to be better for the emotional health of toddlers.
Maternal iron intake is also associated with a lower risk of birth defects and having a baby with lower birth weight.
For all of these reasons, it’s essential to take a multivitamin to ensure both a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Essential Vitamins For Healthy Baby Development
There are various essential nutrients that can support the healthy development of a baby. Here are some of the main nutrients to consider…
A developing baby needs folate to make healthy new cells. This can also help to make DNA and RNA (genetic material) – known as the cell building blocks. Along with playing an essential role in red blood cell production, folate can help the baby’s neural tube to develop into their brain and spinal cord. It’s also been noted that there is a strong link between an impaired folate cycle and the ability to conceive or carry a child to term. 
To ensure you and your baby are getting enough nutrition, it’s essential to take a high-quality multivitamin, and active folate (5-MTHF) instead of high doses of folic acid. Taking Folate is preferred over Folic Acid as the latter is a synthetic form and doesn’t always fully metabolise. The natural active form of Vitamin B9 known as 5-MTHF is recommended.
This nutrient is needed to make hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen in the blood. Low iron levels during pregnancy can lead to anemia that may persist in the baby after birth. According to a review of almost two million pregnant women published in the BMJ, taking iron supplements was found to significantly reduce iron-deficiency anaemia in women, along with reducing the risk of low birth weight in their babies.  If you’re not getting enough Iron from food alone, then taking an Iron supplement is recommended as this can ensure optimal absorption into the body.
Liquid Iron is a highly bioavailable form that’s most recognised by the body, for its maximum absorption benefits. Liquid Iron contributes to red blood cell formation, allowing it to transport oxygen around the body while assisting with reducing tiredness and fatigue. 
Children need Calcium to develop healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is known as the healthy bone mineral as about 99% of the calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth. It’s also an essential nutrient for supporting fetal growth and can support your baby’s heart, muscles, nerves and hormones. In order for calcium to be optimally absorbed a good supply of vitamin D and K2 is also needed.
Taking Vitamin D3 can help to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are essential for growing and keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy. This is because babies who don’t get enough Vitamin D can develop a brittle bone disease called rickets.
Anyone looking to start a family and improve their overall health and wellbeing, is highly recommended to support their pregnancy with the appropriate supplements because as the above research suggests, it may help to reduce the risk of autism or other developmental problems.
Active Life™ – Provides 800mcg, 500% of Folate as (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid) (equivalent to 1600mcg of (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid, glucosamine salt*** (Quatrefolic®) ), along with 80mg, 588% of Niacian Vitamin B3 (from Niacinamide), plus other essential pregnancy nutrients, for a total of 130 vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Available from Good Health Naturally.
Ionic Iron* – A highly bioavailable liquid form of Iron as ferrous sulphate. Ionic iron is the form most recognised by the body. Supports normal energy production, immune function along with brain and cognitive health. Assists with reducing tiredness and fatigue. Includes a metred dropper for accurate and flexible dosing. A convenient alternative to tablets or capsules. Non-GMO and gluten-free. Suitable for all ages. Vegan and vegetarian friendly. Provides 22mg per serving. 56ml/1.9 fl.oz. Available from Good Health Naturally. *Currently only available in the UK store until more stock is rolled out to worldwide stores.