Neural tube defects such as spina bifida are one of the most common congenital malformations. It can be added to grains wheat corn and rice during the milling process easily safely and cost effectively.
This amount of folic acid is available only through prescription so high risk women must carefully plan their pregnancies.
How does folic acid prevent spina bifida. Folic acid is an important part of planning for a healthy 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. Available evidence indicates that 0 4 mg 400 ug per day of folic acid one of the b vitamins will reduce the number of cases of neural tube defects ntds.
In september 1992 the u s. Cdc urges all women of reproductive age consume 400 mcg of folic acid each day in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet to help prevent some major birth defects of the baby s brain known as neural tube defects. Take your prenatal vitamins and folic acid.
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. 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.
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. Spina bifida and anencephaly are common and serious birth defects. 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.
Taking folic acid before and during the first three months of pregnancy does not guarantee the baby will not. 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. The two most common types of neural tube defects are anencephaly and spina bifida.
Since many women do not get enough folic acid in their diet the center for spina bifida prevention recommends food fortification. Adding folic acid to centrally processed foods has been shown to be highly effective in preventing spina bifida in the united states canada and approximately 60 other countries. The prevention of spina bifida is simple affordable and proven.
Studies have demonstrated that periconceptional folic acid supplementation can prevent 50 or more of ntds such as spina bifida and anencephaly. 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. Chilton does reference that folic acid can help reduce the occurrence of spina bifida by 70 it is disappointing to hear a medical professional refer to spina bifida and disability saying how much better though to not have to head off to college in a wheelchair to be one of the 22 000 children saved by folate every year.
Here are the six top ways to prevent spina bifida.