Periconceptional folic acid containing multivitamin supplementation

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1998 Jun;78(2):151-61. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(98)00061-x.


Objective: A summary about the final results of the Hungarian double-blind placebo controlled randomised trial of periconceptional folic acid containing multivitamin and trace element supplementation.

Results: The major finding is a significant prevention of the first occurrence of neural-tube defect, urinary tract and cardiovascular defects, in addition a decrease in the rate of limb deficiencies and congenital hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. Fertility was slightly improved and the rate of twins increased significantly after periconceptional multivitamin supplementation. The effect of multivitamin supplementation for fetal death is controversial, but in general there is no clinically significant change. Periconceptional multivitamin supplementation can reduce the occurrence of nausea and vomiting.

Practical implementations: Consumption of foods which are rich in folate may not be the best way to prevent neural-tube defects and other congenital abnormalities. Periconceptional multivitamin supplementation is part of the periconceptional care in Hungary and it is an appropriate forum for the practical delivery for this primary prevention action. However, as a large proportion of pregnancies are unplanned, the widespread use of bread fortified with folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6 may decrease a considerable part of neural-tube defects and some other congenital abnormalities, in addition to vascular diseases due to hyperhomocysteinemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Congenital Abnormalities / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Fertilization*
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / adverse effects
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Vitamins
  • Folic Acid