A recent study suggests that dietary consumption of folate not appeared to be protective against certain birth defects including spina bifida and neural tube defects, as it has been thought to be. Conventionally, folate-fortified cereals and grain products are recommended for pregnant women to reduce these birth defects.
The present study has found an average of about 88 cases of neural tube defects out of 100,000 births between 1989 and 2010. Further studies have shown that the risk had started to decline between 1989 and 1996 by nearly 9 cases per 100,000 births every year. The declining trend actually slowed after cereal and grains fortification between 1999 and 2010.
A number of other factors including maternal obesity might have influenced the study results that could be the limitation of the study.
The study results appear in the journal Birth Defects Research Part A