• microtia;
  • anotia;
  • ear;
  • birth defect;
  • epidemiology;
  • risk factor;
  • vitamin supplements;
  • folic acid;
  • obesity


The study objective was to examine the association of microtia with maternal intake of folic-acid-containing supplements and obesity. The study data included deliveries from 1997 to 2005 from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Non-syndromic cases of microtia were compared to non-malformed, population-based liveborn control infants, by estimating adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from logistic regression models that included maternal race/ethnicity, education, and study site. Maternal obesity was only weakly associated with microtia. Maternal periconceptional intake of folic-acid-containing vitamin supplements reduced the risk for microtia, but only among non-obese women (OR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.44–0.91). The reduced risk was stronger when analyses were restricted to isolated cases (OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.34–0.77), and it was independent of the level of maternal dietary folate intake. Adjusting for maternal race/ethnicity did not reveal alternative interpretations of this association. This analysis suggests that maternal periconceptional intake of folic-acid-containing supplements may provide protection from microtia for non-obese women. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.