Maternal folate status and lactation

Deborah L. O'Connor, Timothy Green, Mary Frances Picciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Folate plays an essential role in DNA, RNA, and protein biosynthesis. For this reason, the physiological need for this vitamin is increased during periods of rapid anabolic activity such as pregnancy and lactation. Although the importance of folate and the consequences of suboptimal folate status during pregnancy, especially during the periconceptional period, are well appreciated, little is known about the value of folate during lactation. The limited number of studies available on folate intake during lactation suggest that many women do not consume an adequate amount of folate and that recommended target intakes may be too low. Although inadequate maternal folate intake does not affect milk folate concentration unless maternal deficiency is severe, potential consequences of suboptimal folate nutrition to both the mother and her future offspring should also be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Folate
  • Lactation
  • Milk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this