Show Summary Details
Page of

Vitamin B9 (folate) in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Vitamin B9 (folate) in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Vitamin B9 (folate) in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 March 2021

Folate is a coenzyme in multiple biochemical pathways involving one-carbon metabolism, including amino acid metabolism, DNA and RNA synthesis, homocysteine metabolism, and methylation of DNA. The most overt consequence of folate deficiency is megaloblastic anaemia caused by the inhibition of DNA synthesis in red blood cell production. Folate deficiency may also influence the ability to maintain DNA methylation patterns in replicating cells, resulting in lasting phenotypic changes. Embryogenesis and fetal growth require higher levels of folate, which must be supplied maternally during pregnancy. A link between low maternal folate levels and the occurrence of neural tube defects has long been recognized. Other effects in pregnancy include increased risks of pre-eclampsia and placental vascular disorders. The general recommendation is for supplementation prior to conception and throughout pregnancy with 400 #amp;#x03BC;g of folic acid in tablet form, in addition to dietary sources, which can reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.