A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Spring, 2019 | Number 2, Volume 33

Prenatal vitamin use may lower ASD risk in siblings

Mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may reduce their odds of having a second child with ASD by taking prenatal vitamins, a new study suggests. 

Rebecca Schmidt and colleagues analyzed data from children and mothers enrolled in the MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies: Learning Early Signs) study. Their final sample included 241 younger siblings of children with ASD. 

The researchers report that the prevalence of ASD was 14.1% for younger siblings whose mothers took prenatal vitamins in the first month of pregnancy, compared to 32. 7% for younger siblings whose mothers did not take prenatal vitamins during that time. In addition, in younger siblings who developed autism, early prenatal vitamin use was linked to less severe autism symptoms and better cognitive and memory skills. 

The researchers say, “Additional research is needed to confirm these results; to investigate dose thresholds, contributing nutrients, and biologic mechanisms of pre-natal vitamins; and to inform public health recommendations for ASD prevention in affected families.”


“Association of maternal prenatal vitamin use with risk for autism spectrum disorder recurrence in young siblings,” Rebecca J. Schmidt, Ana-MariaIosif, Elizabeth Guerrero Angel, and Sally Ozonoff, JAMA Psychiatry, February 27, 2019 (epub prior to print publication). Address: Rebecca Schmidt, MIND Institute, University of California, Davis,2825 50th Street, Sacramento, CA 95817