Prolonged folic acid supplementation during pregnancy may be associated with a decreased risk of post-partum depression according to recent research from China.
Studying a total of 1592 women from Tianjin, China, results showed that pregnant women who took folic acid for more than six months had a lower prevalence of post-partum depression than those women who took folic acid for six months or less.
“Depression is one of the most common and severe mental disorders worldwide, with a prevalence rate in females 2- to 3-times higher than in males. Post-partum depression (PPD) as a special form of depression has become a significant public concern with numerous previous studies reporting prevalence rates of PPD in women from different countries with Chinese women having an incidence rate ranging from 6.5 to 30 percent,” the authors stated.
While previous studies have reported that FA supplementation during pregnancy could be influenced by childbearing age, maternal education level, household income, and parity, the present study factored in covariates into the analysis, including age, education, household income, living with parents, parity, delivery mode, and gestational age at delivery showing that women supplementing with folic acid for more than six months tended to be older, had higher education levels, and higher household income (P < 0.001).
“Currently, PPD is a common and serious mental disorder with no effective treatment. Therefore, it is of great practical significance to explore the prevention of PPD and although previous studies have identified that adequate levels of folate prevent the onset of depression in the adolescent, adult, and elderly population, pregnant women are excluded as a special population.
“This study is one of few to examine the effect of the duration of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy on PPD in Chinese women and our finding provides new information regarding the potential beneficial effect of long-term folic acid usage during pregnancy,” the authors concluded.
Source: Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1206; doi:10.3390/nu9111206