Use of multivitamins and folic acid in early pregnancy and multiple births in Sweden

Twin Res. 2001 Apr;4(2):63-6. doi: 10.1375/1369052012155.


Folic acid is recommended to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and other congenital malformations. Data from the Swedish Medical Birth Registry were used to study frequency of twinning in women who in early pregnancy reported the use of folic acid. Women (n = 2,569) who in early pregnancy reported the use of folic acid had an increased rate of twin deliveries after consideration of maternal age and of length of involuntary childlessness, both variables being significant confounders. The effect of folic acid was seen also in women who did not report involuntary childlessness. A similar but not statistically significant trend was seen after use of multivitamins without simultaneous use of folic acid tablets (n = 1,979). The increased risk seems to be limited to dizygotic twinning (relative risk = 2.13, 95% CI 1.64-2.74). If this association is causal, wide-spread supplementation with folic acid may represent a hazard larger than the postulated beneficial effect on neural tube defects, at least in low-risk areas.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / drug effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Twins / statistics & numerical data*


  • Folic Acid