Papers And Originals

Folate Status Throughout Pregnancy and in Postpartum Period

BMJ 1968; 4 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.4.5627.356 (Published 09 November 1968) Cite this as: BMJ 1968;4:356
  1. M. L. N. Willoughby,
  2. F. G. Jewell

    Abstract

    The serial trends of the whole blood folate level in two groups of patients have been followed throughout pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum. In those receiving iron alone the whole blood folate remained normal until the test at six weeks after delivery, at which time over half were in the deficient range. There appears to be a delay before this test reflects the current folate status when this changes rapidly. In those receiving iron plus 330 μg. of folic acid a day the results at this time were close to those at the beginning of pregnancy. Subnormal whole blood folate, red cell folate, and serum folate values occurred close to term in patients receiving iron alone, but were not found in those also receiving folic acid. Megaloblastic changes occurred at term in three patients receiving iron alone in whom the whole blood folate had repeatedly been low in early pregnancy.

    The observations are consistent with the previous suggestion that 300 μg. of folic acid daily is a suitable supplement to prevent deficiency in late pregnancy and the puerperium.