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Your Menstrual Cycle and Your Fertility

If you have been struggling with conception, the answer to the puzzle may be hiding in factors related to your menstrual cycle, hormonal imbalances and ovulation.

The menstrual cycle

Your menstrual cycle is more than your period. The menstrual cycle is a series of changes your body goes through every month – the ovary releases an egg and the uterus prepares for pregnancy.

The menstrual cycle can be divided into two phases – the follicular phase and the luteal phase.

The first day of your period is day 1 of the cycle and the start of the follicular phase. During this phase, FSH or follicle stimulating hormone, released from the brain, stimulates the development of one dominant follicle which contains a single egg. As it matures, the follicle releases estrogen which stimulates the thickening of the uterine lining. The follicular phase ends at the start of ovulation. The length of this phase varies, causing variations in individual cycles.

The luteal phase begins at ovulation and continues until the onset of your period. During the luteal phase, the ovary releases progesterone which matures the uterine lining and prepares it for the implantation of an embryo. If pregnancy does not occur, the progesterone level drops and bleeding occurs. The luteal phase lasts around 14 days.

How does the length of the menstrual cycle affect fertility?

The length of a menstrual cycle is determined by the number of days from the first day of bleeding to the start of your next period. The length of your cycle may indicate hormonal imbalances and irregularities in ovulation. Hormonal imbalances can impact whether and when ovulation would occur during your cycle. Without ovulation, pregnancy cannot occur. Cycles of a normal length (21-35 days) indicate regular ovulation and hormonal balance to support natural conception.

Normal menstrual cycle

Days: 21 to 35 days

Ovulation: Has occurred

Short menstrual cycle

Days: Less than 21 days

Ovulation: May not have occurred or occurred earlier than normal

Shortened cycles may indicate that –

  • the ovaries contain fewer eggs and that menopause may be approaching, or
  • ovulation is not occurring

Long or irregular menstrual cycle

Days: More than 35 days

Ovulation: Not occurring or occurring irregularly

Longer cycles indicate that ovulation is either not occurring or occurring irregularly.

Prolonged Menstrual bleeding

Days: More than 7 days

Ovulation: May not have occurred

Prolonged bleeding is a sign that either ovulation is not occurring regularly or there is a problem forming blood clots.

No Menstruation

Days: Rarely or Never

Ovulation: Not occurring

Lack of menstruation is a sign that either ovulation is not occurring or there is something blocking blood flow.

If you do not have a normal monthly period, regardless of how long you have been trying to conceive, you should seek the help of a fertility specialist. Any irregularities in ovulation make conception very difficult without treatment.

If you are looking for the best fertility clinic with state-of-the-art treatments such as IVF, ICSI and more in Dubai and UAE, call PRC Fertility Center at 043758557 Today!

7 things you should know about IVF

About to begin or have begun IVF? Here are 7 important things you should know.

You are not alone

Infertility is a very common problem and the causes could be related to either the man or the woman or a combination of both. Many couples, who are struggling with conception, turn to IVF to help them conceive. Even fertile people seek IVF, such as single women, same-sex couples, people with the risk of a genetic disease and more.

Different types of IVF are now available

IVF or In-vitro fertilization involves the removal of eggs from a woman’s ovaries, fertilized in a lab and then replaced inside the uterus.

The conventional treatment process was lengthy, and took around 4-5 weeks. But now there are shorter forms of treatment available.

Natural IVF is the least intensive form of IVF that does not involve the use of any stimulating drugs. In Natural Modified IVF, the woman needs drugs only for 3-4 days. Mild or mini IVF requires 5-9 days of drugs. These treatments are carried out without halting the menstrual cycle and restarting it.

The price of the treatment is greater than the cycle cost

The cycle cost does not equal the cost of complete treatment. The IVF treatment is generally customized to an individual’s unique circumstances. So, the costs for blood tests, medication and additional techniques will vary from patient to patient. The HFEA fee has to be paid too. Ask your fertility doctor for details on costs and expenses before starting treatment.

Age matters

In fertility treatment, the younger you are, the better it is. Female fertility starts declining around 35 and it is much more difficult to conceive by the early 40s, and by 45 the chances of success drop further. This occurs due to reduction in both the quantity and quality of eggs in the ovaries. While men’s fertility is more stable, it also declines over time, in terms of both quality and quantity.

More than one cycle of treatment may be needed

IVF success rates are about 35% on average, which means that most patients need to undergo a few treatment cycles before becoming pregnant. If you are starting fertility treatment, remember that you are beginning a course of treatment, not just one or two treatment cycles.

Frozen eggs and embryos are just as good

Frozen eggs and embryos are as viable as fresh ones. So, if you have been advised the use of frozen eggs or embryos, remember that the eggs and embryos are frozen using the most advanced technology.

IVF does not always mean multiple pregnancies

Higher orders of multiples rarely occur with IVF. Twins and triplets are more common with IVF because more than one embryo may be placed in the uterus to increase the chances of pregnancy. However, many clinics now use a strong ‘single embryo transfer’ policy in order to reduce the incidence of multiple births. Check with your clinic and fertility doctor.

If you are looking for the best fertility clinic with state-of-the-art treatments such as IVF, IUI, ICSI, and more in Dubai and UAE, call PRC Fertility Center at 043758557 Today!

Info on Ovulation Induction from a Dubai Fertility Clinic

Ovarian induction is the process to stimulate ovulation (production and release of eggs from a woman) by medication. This is used for women who have difficulty conceiving as their ovaries do not release eggs. Medications can be used to either cause ovulation in a patient who does not ovulate regularly or to cause multiple eggs to be developed and released. There is approximately 25% of infertile women who have pelvic pain2problems with ovulation. By helping these women to ovulate regularly, it increases their chances of pregnancy. These medications are called “fertility drugs” and may also improve the endometrium (lining of the womb or uterus) which is required for pregnancy.

Ovarian induction can help women who have irregular periods as they are likely to have ovulatory dysfunction by helping them to have regular ovulation. Some ovulation problems include: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – a hormonal condition which causes the eggs to not be released, ovaries that do not respond to hormones that help the maturation and release of the egg (luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)), thyroid problems, eating disorders, extreme weight gain and weight loss.

Before fertility drugs are given to patients, doctors often use a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to make sure that the fallopian tubes (tubes for the fertilized egg to travel into the womb for implantation) are unblocked. Patients who have a blocked tube may have an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus) and can be dangerous. Many women are suitable candidates for ovulation induction. Women who have ovulation issues and those with unexplained infertility can be treated to increase the number of eggs released. A possible complication that may occur is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).

Some of the commonly used fertility drugs includes:

  1. Clomiphene Citrate: this medication is commonly used to stimulate the maturation and release of eggs. The standard dose is 50-100 milligrams clomiphene(mg) every day for 5 consecutive days. Treatment starts usually on the second to fifth day after menstruation begins. Chances of success depends on the age of the patient, health condition and quality of the semen. The chance of twins is 6-10% and chance of triplets is 1% or less.
  2. Aromatase inhibitors: Used to temporarily decrease estrogen levels in the body which leads to the body producing more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH is used to help in the production and maturation of eggs. Drugs in this class include letrozole and anastrozole. Studies show that pregnancy rates are similar to Clomiphene Citrate.
  3. Other drugs that can be used are insulin sensitizing drugs – Metformin, gonadotropins, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), bromocriptine or cabergoline, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and GnRH Analogs.

Long term studies have not found any association of increased birth defects with clomiphene citrate and gonadotropins. There is also no evidence associating an increased ovarian risk with clomiphene citrate, gonadotropins or aromatase inhibitors.

 

References:

How Stress Affects Fertility

The world today consists of a fast-paced society revolving mostly around careers and success. This can be stressful and has a big impact on fertility. After trying to conceive for a certain time, one can naturally be burdened by thoughts of infertility. Although it is not clear how canstockphoto43945311stress impacts fertility, new research has shown that women who are going through infertility treatments are more likely to conceive if they participate in a stress reduction program. This is no easy feat for patients with the diagnosis of infertility as it can cause a high amount of stress, sadness, depression and anxiety. Studies have even compared the stress of infertility to patients experiencing heart disease and cancer.

The body is programmed to prevent pregnancy in times of extreme stress. Hormones released from the body in stressful times signals the body that conditions are not ideal for conception. Hormones released in stressful times include adrenaline that inhibit the utilization of progesterone, which is essential for fertility purposes. High levels of prolactin are also released which can contribute to infertility. Other hormones such as catecholamines, cortisol and adrenaline can inhibit the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) leading to suppression of ovulation (egg is not released), reduced sperm count and lower libido in both men and women.

Here are some ways that you can help your fertility by reducing stress:

  1. Reduce: Try to avoid stressful situations starting with your job or occupation. It may be time to look for a new job. By reducing stress levels, it only helps fertility but also improves the quality of life.
  2. Change: Learn control. By controlling the reaction to stressful can have a big impact on reducing stress. Try to stop worrying about the “what ifs” in life. This may take time to practice.canstockphoto43905496
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which are happy hormones and can play an important role in coping with stress.
  5. Meditation, Yoga, Prayer: Many have claimed that these help them achieve inner peace and to reduce stress.
  6. Counseling: it can be helpful to have someone to talk to. Counselors can help educated patients on coping with stress in life. Support groups in the community may also be helpful.
  7. Pamper: Always remember to make time for yourself. Picking up new enjoyable hobbies such as reading a book, taking warm baths, or writing in a journal daily can help to reduce stress.

Stress does not only affect women who are going through infertility treatment but all women. A new mind-body program utilizes an exercise called “cognitive restructuring”. Patients are taught to replace negative feelings with positive but realistic thoughts such as “I am doing everything I can to have a healthy baby”. Women who are already going through infertility treatments should adopt this thinking and this can help them relax and accept all the future outcomes of treatment.

For top fertility treatment in Dubai and the entire UAE, visit us at PRC Fertility Center. We have expert fertility specialists who help women achieve their fertility goals frequently with such treatments as ICSI, IVF and more!

Causes of Infertility – Info from a Top Dubai Clinic

Infertility is a condition where couples are unable to conceive after six months or one year of unprotected and regular intercourse. Infertility affects about 6% of married women 15-44 years of age. Contrary to popular belief, infertility affects both men and women. Studies found that 7.5% of sexually active men reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime, this equals 3.3-4.7million men.Infertility Sign

Infertility in men can be caused by multiple factors and can be evaluated using a semen analysis. The semen from the individual is evaluated for the concentration (amount), motility (movement), and morphology (shape). If the semen analysis is slightly abnormal, it does not always mean that the patient is infertile. Conditions that may contribute to an abnormal semen analysis includes:

  1. Varicoceles: the veins in the testicle is enlarged causing it to overheat which affects the number or shape of the sperm.
  2. Other medical conditions: Diabetes, trauma, infection or previous history of chemotherapy or radiation may affect the sperm.
  3. Habits: use of alcohol, smoking, steroid use or drug use can also affect the sperm
  4. Environmental toxins and exposure

For women, Infertility can be caused by any interruption to the process below:

  1. Ovulation: the process where the woman releases an egg from one of the ovaries. Some women do not ovulate due to:
    1. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): a hormone imbalance interfering with ovulation
    2. Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA): absent period due to no physical or emotional stress
    3. Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR): ovary is unable to produce eggs due to surgical, medical or unexplained reasons. Number of eggs also decrease with age.
    4. Menopause: ovarian function declines due to age and eventually stops producing eggs.

2. Fertilization: A man’s sperm must meet the egg along the way. If the woman’s tube is blocked, fertilization cannot happen.

3. Travel: the fertilized egg must be able to go through the tube towards the uterus (womb).canstockphoto27582301

4. Implantation: after travelling to the womb, the fertilized egg must be able to attach to the inside of the uterus.

For women, age is one of the factors that contribute to infertility. In today’s world, many women are waiting until they are successful and stable enough in life to have a baby. This usually occurs in their 30s or 40s. 20% of women in the United States have their first child after the age of 35 years old.

Aging not only decreases fertility but also increases the chance of miscarriage and having a child with a genetic anomaly. With age, a woman’s ovaries are less able to release eggs. They also have less eggs (decreased reserve), less healthy eggs, more health conditions that may cause fertility problems and more likely to have a miscarriage. Coupled with today’s lifestyle, many women smoke, drink alcohol excessively, are either obese or underweight, and have stress that can contribute to infertility.

It is recommended that women below the age of 35 can try to conceive for 1 year and women above the age of 35 years old should see a doctor after 6 months of trying to conceive unsuccessfully. A woman’s chance of conceiving declines after the age of 30.

 

References:

Increased BPA Exposure and Reduced Egg Quality

The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is what makes plastic clear and hard. It is used for numerous consumer products, such as reusable water bottles, shampoos bottles, and storage containers. BPA is found in epoxy resins, which are substances that form a protective lining in beverage cans and metal food containers. The eggs are reproductive cells that are produced in the ovaries. Researchers have found that these cells are affected by increased BPA exposure.

 

BPA is a common chemical used in the consumer industry in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease canstockphoto43023739Control and Prevention (CDC), BPA was found in the urine of nearly everyone tested in a 2004 analysis of the U.S. population. This chemical is considered an environmental contaminant, and many experts believe it is impacting health due to its endocrine-disrupting properties and widespread exposure.

 

Research Studies

 

In a study conducted by the University of California in San Francisco, researchers identified the first evidence in humans that exposure to the chemical bisphenol A could possible compromise a woman’s egg quality. The small-scale California study found that as blood levels BPA in the women doubled, the number of eggs fertilized normally decreased by 50%.

 

Preliminary data showed the negative effects of BPA on reproductive health, and researchers urge that it is important to allocate more funds to further investigate this chemical. Lead researcher Dr. Fujimoto insists that BPA and other environmental contaminants could be disrupting fertility potential. The study analyzed 25 women undergoing IVF in 2007-2008 at a fertility center in California. The women were a subgroup of a larger study that investigated reproductive health and toxic metals (lead, mercury, and cadmium).

 

In previous studies involving mouse models, BPA levels were found to alter the DNA of eggs. In one 2010 study involving humans, BPA urinary concentrations were found to be inversely associated with the number of eggs fertility specialist retrieved during IVF cycles. According to Fujimoto, there is no clinical test available to determine BPA levels in humans. He urges that women considering IVF treatment to reduce their exposure to BPA through diet and lifestyle. This study shows a clear link between egg health, egg, DNA, and BPA exposure.

 

BPAs are also linked to recurrent miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels in men. Some experts theorize that BPAs have a damaging effect on DNA of sperm as well. Both herbicides and pesticides have been linked to declining sperm count over the last five decades. These chemical products are made from petroleum, which is one of the raw ingredients used to manufacture BPA.

 

Tips for Avoiding BPA Exposure

 

  1. Stop drinking bottled water. The bottles leak xenohormones into the water. These chemicals mimic estrogen, and this can affect fertility and cause hormone imbalances. Alternatives are glass bottles of water and using other containers for the water.
  2. Avoid plastic items made with BPA. This includes plates, cups, and cookware. The number on the bottle of the plastic item alerts you to which ones to avoid. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 are harmful.
  3. Avoid vinyl shower curtains. Instead, use curtains made from natural fibers, nylon, or polyester.
  4. Store food in glass, food-safe metal, or ceramic containers. If you need plastic, avoid numbers 3, 6, and 7.
  5. Avoid heating food using plastic wrap or containers. Heat increases the risk for chemicals leaching out of the plastic and into the foods.

If you or your loved ones are having difficulty conceiving, PRC Dubai can help you! Our Board Certified providers offer top notch, comprehensive treatment including IVF, ICSI, mediations and more. Call us today for the top fertility treatment in the Middle East.

Is There an Association Between Drinking and IVF?

Does alcohol consumption affect fertility and in vitro fertilization (IVF)? In the United States, the percent of adults age 18 years and older who have at least one heavy drinking day in the past year is 25%. Heaving drinking is defined by 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention canstockphoto42020889(CDC). Based on reports from the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 87% of people age 18 or older reported drinking alcohol at some time in their lives, and 56% admitted to drinking during the past month. These statistics are from a 2013 survey.

 

In vitro fertilization is a series of procedures used to help couples become pregnant. During IVF, the woman takes medication to help with egg development through a process called ovarian stimulation. The eggs are retrieved via a simple medical procedure. Then, eggs are placed in a laboratory petri dish and fertilized with the male partner’s sperm. Once embryos develop, they are placed inside the female partner’s uterus in a process called embryo transportation.

 

In a recent study conducted by Rossi and associates, researchers evaluated more than 4,700 in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles that involved more than 2,500 couples. During the investigation, couples were given questionnaires regarding their alcohol consumption at the start of the IVF cycle, but not during the cycle or pregnancy. The main outcome the researchers were interested in was the live birth rate following IVF. Investigators found that for women or men undergoing IVF, drinking 4 or more alcoholic drinks per week before the IVF cycle was associated with a 48% increased risk for failed fertilization. In addition, the risk for live birth was 21% lower.

 

Alcohol appears to have a negative effect on fertility. However, the researchers stress that while there is much published evidence related to adverse effects of alcohol upon the fetus during pregnancy, there is little data regarding alcohol’s effect on fertility. Additionally, experts theorize that couples undergoing IVF usually cannot conceive without assistance, and therefore, these individuals may not limit alcohol consumption before the IVF cycle. In this study, infertile couples IVF treatment photoreported less drinking than the general population, with 44-66% reporting alcohol use and 62-74% reporting being regular drinkers.

 

In a study conducted at Harvard Medical School, researchers asked 2,574 couples about their alcohol consumption before they went through IVF treatment. Based on reports, 56% of women and 33% of men reported less than one drink a week. In addition, 4% of women and 5% of men consumed at least one drink every day. Dr. Rossi, lead researcher, reported that women and men who drink 6 units of alcohol each week significantly reduced their likelihood of pregnancy.

 

At this level of consumption, women were at least 18% less likely to have a successful delivery with IVF, and men reduced chances of fatherhood by at least 14%. The IVF success rates were also influenced for men who drank beer and women who drank white wine. In this study, the average age of the men was 37, and the average age of women was 34.

 

Based on the guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), women should stop drinking before conception and during pregnancy. The link between conception and alcohol is an area where the evidence is not clear. In addition, couples who struggle with fertility are more affected by alcohol consumption than those who are fertile.

PRC Dubai offers top notch fertility treatments to help you and your loved ones succeed with your fertility goals.This includes IVF, medications, ICSI and all types of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Call us today for the top IVF treatment in Dubai!

Overview of the Influenza Vaccine during Pregnancy

Influenza (also called “the flu”) is more likely to cause severe illness for healthy, pregnant women compared to those women who are healthy and not pregnant. During pregnancy, a woman’s body has changes in the heart, lungs, and immune system, which makes them more prone to severe illness with the flu.

 

Getting the flu while pregnant can raise the risks of pregnancy complications as well. This include premature labor, earlycanstockphoto42586901 delivery, and heart infections. Studies show that vaccinating a pregnant women will pass the antibodies on the baby so the child will be protected from the flu for at least 6 months after the birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women receive a flu shot during any trimester of pregnancy to protect themselves and the unborn child. The nasal spray used to immunize against influenza is not recommended, however.

 

Is it safe for pregnant women and their unborn children to get a flu shot?

 

The flu shot has been given safely to many pregnant women over the past few decades. Much scientific literature supports the safety of the flu vaccine in pregnant women, as well as the unborn babies. The CDC is continuing to get data regarding this topic.

 

What side effects do pregnant women experience with the flu shot?

 

The most common side effects pregnant women experience are the same as other people who receive the flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and include:

 

  • Fainting
  • Soreness, swelling, and redness at the site
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

 

When side effects occur, they typically begin right after the influenza shot is given, and they only last for a couple of days. It is rare for someone to have an allergic reaction to the flu shot, as healthcare professionals screen for risk factors.

 

Can pregnant women who have egg allergies receive the flu shot?

 

Most people who have an allergy to eggs should not receive the flu shot. A person with a severe allergy to any vaccine component, such as egg protein, is at risk for a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Pregnant women need to tell the healthcare workers about their allergies before getting immunized.

 

How is the safety of flu vaccines monitored in pregnant women?

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts ongoing safety monitoring on all vaccines licensed for use in the United States. The CDC and FDA use two systems to monitor the influenza vaccine safety for women during pregnancy. These include:

 

  • Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) – This is an early warning system that monitors for problems during vaccination. Anyone can report vaccine side effects, and health concerns that arise after vaccination. These reports also help indicate if further investigations are necessary.

 

  • Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) – This is a collaboration between many health organizations that uses ongoing monitoring approaches and searchers of vaccine data.

 

Have studies been conducted by the CDC regarding flu vaccine safety during pregnancy?

 

Many studies were conducted by the CDC and partner organizations. A review of VAERS in 2011 found no link between pregnancy complication or fetal outcomes among women who received a flu shot while pregnant. In addition, a study involving VSD in 2013 found no increased adverse obstetric events for these women, which included pre-eclampsia, chorioamnionitis, and gestational hypertension.

 

Can a breastfeeding woman get the flu shot?

 

Breastfeeding women are encouraged to get the flu vaccine, according to the CDC. If the mother gets influenza, it could pass on to her newborn infant, which puts the baby at great risk.

PRC Dubai offers the top fertility treatments in the Middle East. Call us today for the top treatments such as IVF, ICSI and more!

An Overview of Myomectomy for Fibroids

A myomectomy is a surgery performed to remove fibroids from the uterus. This procedure preserves the uterus so the woman can go on to have children in the future. Fibroids cause heavy bleeding, pelvic cramps, and infertility. The type of myomectomy depends on the size, location, and number of fibroids.

Abdominal Myomectomy

Also called an open myomectomy, the abdominal myomectomy is a major procedure. This involves a small incision through the lower abdomen, which is called a bikini cut. The fibroids can be removed through the uterus wall, after the uterine muscle is incised. The muscle and skin are sewn back together using layers of stitches.

The myomectomy is performed using general anesthesia (you are put to sleep), so minimal pain is involved. Because blood loss occurs during this procedure, women donate their own blood beforehand. After the myomectomy, the woman must have a Caesarean section (C-section) for future pregnancy deliveries.

Laparoscopic Myomectomy

Fibroids can be removed using laparoscopic myomectomy. This involves making four small incisions around the navel, hip, and bikini line. The small laparoscope is inserted into the uterus to identify the fibroid and make necessary removal. Long instruments can be inserted into the incisions to remove the tissue. Afterwards, the uterine muscle is sewn back together. Most women spend the night in the hospital following the procedure, and 2-4 weeks recovering at home.

Hysteroscopic Myomectomy

Women with small submucosal fibroids can undergo hysteroscopic myomectomy. Any fibroids located within the uterine wall cannot be removed using this technique. During this outpatient procedure, you are put to sleep. The scope is passed up the vagina and through the cervix. Fluid is injected into the uterine cavity to lift apart the walls. Small instruments can be passed through the scope to shave off the tiny fibroids. We recommend that you rest for a few days. Expect mild cramping and light bleeding after the procedure, but these symptoms subside within a few weeks.

Prenatal Folic Acid and Autism

 

Beginning in the 1990s, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending that all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, which prevents neural tube defects. folic-acidThese conditions include anencephaly and spina bifida, which are defects of the brain and spinal cord. In 1998, folic acid was added to the grain supply, and since this addition, the U.S. has noted a 26% decrease in neural tube defects.

 

According to new research, folic acid taken before and during pregnancy could possibly lower the risk for autism. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which is a B vitamin that plays a role in the production of new cells during pregnancy. Folic acid is necessary for production of RNA and DNA, to metabolize homocysteine, and to make healthy red blood cells.

 

About Autism

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects the child’s ability to communicate and interact with other children and adults. ASD is a spectrum condition that is defined by a set of behaviors that affects people differently. A single cause for autism has not been identified, but increased awareness about the disorder have brought awareness to the problem. This condition is associated with narrow, intense interests, problems with reasoning and planning, poor motor skills, and sensory sensitivities.

 

In 2015, the CDC reported that the prevalence rate of autism in the U.S. rose to 1 in every 68 births, which is nearly twice the 2004 rate of 1 in 125. Of these 68 children, 54 of those affected are boys. The cost for caring for a child with ASD is around $2.4 million, including insurance, non-covered expenses, education, housing, and transportation.

 

The Research Studies

 

In a recent study conducted at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Dr. Suren and associates investigated the link between folic acid and conception as well as the reduction in the risk of autism in offspring. The study involved more than 85,000 children born between 2002 and 2008. The results showed that 0.32% of the children (270 total) were diagnosed with autism at some xxxEggFrizingTextpoint, with 114 having autistic disorder, 56 having Asperger’s syndrome, and 100 having non-specified autistic disorder. The study showed a lower rate of autism in children whose mothers took folic acid supplementation than those who did not take folic acid.

 

Similar results have been seen in other studies. A study from the U.C. Davis MIND Institute found that that folic acid supplements taken during the first month of pregnancy reduced the risk of autism in the children. The findings did not establish a cause-effect relationship between folic acid and autism, but they show a need for replicating these studies to investigate the biological mechanisms and genetic factors that could show an association.

 

In a 2011 California-based study, researchers found that mothers of children with autism did not take prenatal vitamins during the first three months of pregnancy. This suggested that periconceptional use of prenatal vitamins may reduce the risk for autism. Each prenatal vitamin contains 400-800 micrograms of folic acid.

 

However, folic acid is no magic pill. Autism affects many children born in the United States, so many parents are concerned about the implications of this disease. These studies show that folic acid supplementation is a low-risk option for people seeking to lower their child’s risk for developing this disease. Taking folic acid during the earliest stages of pregnancy may lower the child’s odds of autism by around 40%, according to research. But lowering the odds does not eliminate the chances of conceiving a child with autism altogether.

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