This site is intended for health professionals only

Read the latest issue online
Climbing the leadership ladder


High dose folic acid does not prevent pre-eclampsia in high risk women

High dose folic acid does not prevent pre-eclampsia in high risk women

High-dose folic acid supplements do not prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk for the condition, according to a new study.

Researchers from six countries looked at the prevalence of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women – beyond the first trimester – who were taking 4mg folic acid supplements compared with those who were not, but found no difference.

Just under 15% of women in the folic acid group experienced pre-eclampsia (169/1,144), compared to just under 14% (156/1,157) in the placebo group.

The researchers analysed nearly 2,500 pregnant women from across 70 obstetrical centres in five countries – Argentina, Australia, Canada, Jamaica, and the UK – all of whom had at least one high risk factor for pre-eclampsia between 2011 and 2015.

The researchers concluded: ‘Supplementation with 4.0mg per day folic acid beyond the first trimester does not prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk for this condition.’

They added: ‘However, folic acid supplementation remains indicated in preconception and early pregnancy but there is a need to define when to discontinue supplementation as current clinical practice guidelines do not provide clear guidance beyond the first trimester.’

In June, researchers conducting a separate study found there is no evidence that vitamin D reduces the likelihood of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

They said their findings supported the World Health Organization’s position that ‘evidence recommending vitamin D supplementation for women during pregnancy to reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes is insufficient’.

BMJ 2018, online 12 Sep

See how our symptom tool can help you make better sense of patient presentations
Click here to search a symptom

Visit Nursing in Practice Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms or search by category during a consultation to look for guidance on next steps.

High-dose folic acid supplements do not prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk for the condition, according to a new study.