Strong scientific evidence shows that folic acid fortification of a region s food supply leads to a decrease in spina bifida a birth defect of the spine. The predominant cause of spina bifida and anencephaly is a lack of adequate folic acid vitamin b9 in the mother s diet prior to conception and during the first month of pregnancy.
A lot of research has been done around taking prenatal vitamins and it s believed that folic acid can help to prevent defects of the brain and spine.
Folic acid prevents spina bifida. Mandatory folic acid fortification of staples is a proven intervention to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly two life threatening and disabling neural tube defects. Current evidence suggests that folic acid supplementation in the periconceptional period either alone or in combination with other vitamins and minerals can prevent neural tube defects. Studies have demonstrated that periconceptional folic acid supplementation can prevent 50 or more of ntds such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Get folic acid first. Take your prenatal vitamins and folic acid. Having enough folic acid in your system by the early weeks of pregnancy is critical to prevent spina bifida.
The prevention of spina bifida is simple affordable and proven. Still many countries around the world have yet to approve mandatory fortification through government legislation. In september 1992 the u s.
Neural tube defects such as spina bifida are one of the most common congenital malformations. Women who have spina bifida a child with sb or had a pregnancy affected by sb should take 4000 mcg 4 0 mg of folic acid for one to three months before pregnancy. Folic acid taken in supplement form starting at least one month before conception and continuing through the first trimester of pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
Taking folic acid before and during the first three months of pregnancy does not guarantee the baby will not. Public health service usphs recommended that all women capable of becoming pregnant should consume 400 µg of folic acid day on an ongoing basis to reduce their risk for having a pregnancy affected by spina bifida and anencephaly i e neural tube defects ntds. Women who could become pregnant should take 400 mcg 0 4 mg of folic acid through a vitamin.
The recommendation was preceded a year earlier by a cdc recommendation for women at high risk i e those women who have had an earlier pregnancy affected by an ntd. Here are the six top ways to prevent spina bifida. For women who have previously had an ntd affected pregnancy the centers for disease control and prevention cdc recommends increasing the intake of folic acid to 4000 μg per day beginning at least 1 month before conception and continuing through the first trimester.
This amount of folic acid is available only through prescription so high risk women must carefully plan their pregnancies.