Folic Acid Supplementation During Early Pregnancy and the Risk of Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia
Emerging evidence has suggested that folic acid–containing multivitamins may markedly reduce the risk of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. We examined whether maternal supplementation with folic acid alone during early pregnancy can prevent the occurrence of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. The data are from a large population-based cohort study established to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign to prevent neural tube defects with folic acid supplementation in China. We selected participants who were registered in 2 southern provinces, had exact information on folic acid use, and were not affected by chronic hypertension or diabetes mellitus before 20 weeks gestation. A logistic regression model was used to adjust for the effects of the main potential confounders, including age, body mass index, education, occupation, parity, and multiple births. The study size had 99.9% power (α=0.05) to detect a decrease of 10% over the unexposed rate of 9.4% for gestational hypertension. Among the 193 554 women (47.9% took folic acid, 52.1% did not), the overall incidence of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia was 9.5% and 2.5%, respectively. The incidence of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia was 9.7% and 2.5% for women who took folic acid, and 9.4% and 2.4% for women who did not use it. The adjusted risk ratio associated with folic acid use was 1.08 (95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.11) for gestational hypertension and 1.11 (95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.18) for preeclampsia. Our findings suggest that daily consumption of 400 μg folic acid alone during early pregnancy cannot prevent the occurrence of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.
- Received September 22, 2012.
- Revision received January 9, 2013.
- Accepted January 21, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.