The Folic Acid Study

Why are we doing this study?

Folate is a B-group vitamin found in food that is essential for the healthy development of a baby in early pregnancy, in particular their neural tube from which the brain and spinal cord develop. The synthetic version of folate is called ‘folic acid’, and this is what is added to food or taken as a supplement. Taking folic acid supplements before becoming pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is important and has been shown to reduce neural tube defects. 

Once the baby’s neural tube has formed, around 28 days following conception, there are no proven benefits to keep taking folic acid supplements. However, many women choose to take a prenatal multivitamin throughout pregnancy which often contain high doses of folic acid (a synthetic form of folate). Folic acid has also been added to our food supply following the mandatory fortification of non-organic wheat flour in Australia. Too much folic acid can’t be absorbed and circulates in the blood, unused by the cells, as ‘unmetabolised folic acid’.

In this study, we would like to find out the levels of unmetabolised folic acid in the blood of pregnant women at 36 weeks gestation who take a multivitamin either with or without folic acid after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Who can take part?

If you are between 12 and 16 weeks of pregnancy, currently taking a multivitamin that contains folic acid (and are planning to continue throughout pregnancy), you may be eligible to take part in this study.

What is involved?

  • We will ask you take our multivitamin capsules daily from enrolment into the study until delivery of your baby.
  • We will take a small blood sample when you enrol in the study and when you are 36 weeks pregnant.

What are the benefits?

  • We will supply you with multivitamin capsules that are similar to the leading brands of prenatal supplements available in Australia. The capsules contain vitamins, minerals and either folic acid or no folic acid.
  • We will reimburse you $25 for visits to our research clinic.

For more information

Call or Text: 0436 925 869

Phone: (08) 8128 4436


Download Study Materials

Download the Folic Acid Study Information Brochure (PDF 1.1MB)

Download the Folic Acid Study Participant Information Sheet (PDF 304KB)

Get in touch
+61 8 8128 4000
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North Terrace Adelaide 5000 South Australia
Postal Address
PO BOX 11060 Adelaide 5001 South Australia
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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna Nation.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and respects the traditional owners, the family clans who are the Kaurna Nation from the Adelaide Plains region of South Australia. We acknowledge the clans of the Kaurna Nation and the sacred knowledge they hold for their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna Nation, their ancestors and the descendants of these living family clans today.