The FIG Study

Optimising prenatal folic acid supplementation to promote best outcomes for mum and child
The FIG Study
Project Status: Recruiting
Project administered by: Flinders University

The FIG Study will help us investigate the importance of continuing folic acid supplementation throughout pregnancy and lactation.

We know that folic acid is an essential nutrient and getting enough during the very early stages of pregnancy is important to reduce the chances of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida, which is a serious birth defect.

However, the neural tube closes four weeks after conception, and for most women we don't know whether it's good or bad to continue taking folic acid throughout the rest of pregnancy, and into the first months of baby's life.

Some studies show that continuing to take folic acid during this stage is associated with a reduced risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes, preterm birth, postnatal depression, and developmental delay in the child. However, other studies show that continuing folic acid is associated with an increased risk of other conditions such as gestational diabetes, preterm birth, allergy, and obesity.

All of these studies are observational, which means they can't tell us for sure what the risks and benefits of continuing to take folic acid are. This is why we're conducting the FIG Study.

The FIG Study is a national, randomised, control trial that aims to investigate and evaluate the risks and benefits of continued folic acid supplementation. This is important to know so that future families, their doctors, and policymakers can make informed decisions during pregnancy.

Who can take part?

We're inviting pregnant women who are:

  • Less than 16 weeks pregnant
  • Willing to take study supplements
  • Not diagnosed with Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes

Check my eligibility

Why should I take part?

  • We will provide you with prenatal supplements for you to take when you are 12 weeks through your pregnancy and until your baby is 3 months old at no cost to you.
  • Your contribution will help future families and doctors make informed decisions on folic acid supplementation during pregnancy and lactation.
  • You will complete the Australian Eating Survey during your pregnancy, which will give you a detailed assessment of your diet.
  • This study has the potential to change Australian guidelines around folic acid supplementation.

What happens if I decide to take part?

If you decide to take part in the study, we will keep in contact with you throughout your pregnancy and for the first 2 years of your child's life. We will ask you to complete online questionnaires at different time points to help us determine various health outcomes of both you and your baby.

If you live in South Australia, we may also invite you to our Adelaide clinic on one occasion for a small blood sample roughly halfway through your pregnancy.

Are you interested in this study?

Check your eligibility

If you have any questions about the study or would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us on (08) 8128 4436 or at

Partnering Institutions

Caring Futures Institute
Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute

This study has been reviewed and approved by Women's and Children's Health Network Ethics Committee (2024/HRE00017).