by Yasmeen Hassan


DAVIS (CBS13) — A new groundbreaking study from UC Davis has found that taking prenatal vitamins during the first month of pregnancy might lower the chances of having a second child with autism.

“That was one of my biggest concerns with my oldest son being autistic was okay, is his brother going to be autistic too,” one mother, Jessica Coultrup, told us.

Researchers say if you have one child with autism, your next child is about 13 times more likely to develop the disorder, but this new study is giving those families hope.

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“I don’t want him to go through the same stuff my oldest goes through so hopefully this helps,” Coultrup said.

The study found that taking prenatal vitamins in the first month of pregnancy can reduce the risk of autism recurrence in high-risk families.

“The moms who reported taking the prenatal vitamins were about half as likely to have another child with autism,” Rebecca J. Schmidt, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis, said.

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Researchers think the folic acid may be a big contributing factor. It is linked to healthy brain development throughout childhood.

This doesn’t just affect families who have a child with autism. Children whose mothers who took the vitamins early in their pregnancy also showed higher cognitive scores.

“It helps a lot just knowing that something so small can make a huge difference,” Coultrup said.

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