Autism has been on the rise for decades. The cause of autism in children continues to be hotly debated. Some blame it on genetics, some blame it on childhood vaccines, some blame it on environmental factors, while others point to oxygen loss at birth as a cause. However, recent studies have shown that taking folic acid during pregnancy doesn't only lower the odds of neural tube defects in the fetus, but it also reduces the risk of the child ending up with autism.

In fact, because studies conducted in Israel had found the correlation between lower instances of autism and mothers taking folic acid during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women continue to take folic acid during the pregnancy.

The study that was conducted showed that women who took folic acid during their pregnancies were 61% less likely to have a child diagnosed with autism compared to pregnant women who did not take folic acid. It has also been stated that taking these supplements was linked to a 73% chance of autism not affecting the unborn baby.

Therefore, it is incredibly necessary for women that are trying to conceive take folic acid at least 3 months before they conceive because it is in their system. Once they are pregnant, they must not stop and continue. That will tremendously lower the risks of autism ever affecting the child.

As mentioned before, folic acid may help reduce the instances of autism, but there are other unknown or known factors that come into play that can indeed cause autism to happen to the child.

For instance, there are more and more genetic defects being found that can be passed down to the child which can increase the chances of autism. Therefore, in that case, if a pregnant woman or the baby's father passed down those genes, will autism be prevented from her taking folic acid? Probably not entirely but perhaps the child will end up being on the higher end of the spectrum, which is a lot better than a child being severely impacted.

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects speech, social skills, and overall development. It is a spectrum disorder which ranges from mild (high functioning) to severe (low functioning).

A child that is mildly impacted by autism will need plenty of help and therapy ranging from speech to occupational therapy while they are young. Therefore, if the autism is mild and the therapy has been successful, then these individuals may end up living independently like anyone else, or at the most have a minimal amount of monitoring. However, people that have autism and are on the higher functioning end will be able to likely work, they can hold conversations, they also can have friendships and relationships. Some may be able to drive, but others cannot but they can take the transit on their own.

Individuals that are severely impacted by autism cannot speak, many of them are still in diapers as adults, and need 24/7 care even after plenty of therapy and help while they were younger. Those who are moderate may be toilet trained, have limited speech and may be able to do menial tasks such as washing tables.

Therefore, if you end up having a child with autism, be prepared to get the child early intervention so he or she has odds of being functional adults unless the impact of autism is moderate or severe. Again even if there may be a genetic component involved, it is advisable for women to take folic acid no matter what. Because it is quite possible that even if the child will end up with autism from genes, then the severity of it will be minimal if folic acid is taken.

I can tell you from experience that I believe there is truth to this study. While I was struggling to conceive my daughter, I took folic acid for a very long time due to being on Clomid and having to have intrauterine insemination since my husband's sperm count was low. My daughter is smart, witty, and definitely is not under the autism spectrum at all. I took folic acid and I ate well during my pregnancy with her. Most importantly, the delivery was smooth and there were no complications at all. She has a mild case of ADHD which is most definitely genetic because I have it. However, it can be frustrating when it comes to school, but it certainly helps with your creativity. Both she and I can agree with that.

However, my son has mild autism and severe ADHD. Because I struggled to conceive the first time, I did not use protection after my daughter was born. I was certainly open to having another child but was assuming that we would have to go through treatments again. But lo and behold after thinking that I was having a very long cycle which is typical for women with PCOS, it did get to a point that not having a period for 12 weeks was even odd for me. I went to the doctor. I did not at all think for a second that I was pregnant because of the struggles the first time around, and secondly other than not getting a period I had no symptoms. But to my shock, I was already 3 months along and because I didn't take folic acid, and I ate sushi and had one glass of wine I was very worried. My doctor told me not to be concerned so I started taking folic acid anyway even though it was late.

However, unfortunately, my son had a bowel movement in the womb and inhaled meconium so severely that he lost oxygen, and was on life support. He did get better but he has autism which is mild, but has severe ADHD. He had plenty of therapy and is at a residential school getting more intense help because he is high functioning. He is just dealing with the other complication of the severe ADHD which should get better in time, so he will likely (and hopefully) be quite independent as an adult with some help.

My point of talking about this is that my daughter does not have autism and I took folic acid before and during my pregnancy with her. My son has autism and I did not take folic acid until I found out that I was pregnant which was probably too late to start. However, my feeling is that his traumatic birth was the cause even more so than me not taking folic acid.

Since this study has been conducted, this is excellent for women to know if they are worried about having a child with autism- especially one that may be severely impacted. My daughter knows what she will do to ensure that the odds are with her that her children will not have autism when she is ready to have kids!

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