The recommended dosage of folic acid administered to women taking medication for epilepsy and hoping to conceive has been questioned following a study of several thousand women.
Women trying for a baby are often advised to take five milligrams of folic acid to supplement their anti-epileptic drugs.
However, a report in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggests that of the 1,935 women who take the folic acid supplements before pregnancy there were 76 major congenital malfunctions reported and eight neural tube problems noted.
Of the 2,375 women who took the folic acid either later in their pregnancy or not at all, those figures dropped or remained the same, with 53 major congenital malfunctions and eight neural tube problems reported.
Recent research hinted towards folic acid also being able to prevent cancer, although researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School this week announced that it will not in fact have much effect either way.
Independent advice on private healthcare