Folic acid a flop in preventing pre-eclampsia

Advice to take the supplement beyond first trimester should cease, say researchers

Taking high-dose folic acid beyond the first trimester doesn’t reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia in at-risk women, according to a randomised, double-blind trial published in the BMJ.

While previous observational studies had pointed to a potential protective effect, the Folic Acid Clinical Trial (FACT) found the vitamin had no effect on pre-eclampsia risk.

After accounting for potential confounding factors, the incidence of pre-eclampsia among women taking 4mg folic acid daily was 14.8% compared with 13.5% for women taking a placebo, the international research team found.

High-dose folic acid also failed to reduce the risk of stillbirth and there was no evidence of any other differences between the groups for adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes, including severe pre-eclampsia, placental abruption and premature rupture of membranes.

More than 2400 women were recruited from 70