Spina Bifida Prevention

It is the belief of medical professionals that the best means of preventing spina bifida in newborns is by having the mother fortified with folic acid. However, folic acid will only help in the prevention of spina bifida if used for at least a month before pregnancy begins. Taking supplements of folic acid before conception reduces the risk of the birth defect as well as other neural tube defects. Excellent video on Minimizing the Risk of Having a Spina Bifida-Affected Pregnancy

During the early weeks of pregnancy Researchers believe that having enough folic acid in the system, especially during the early weeks of pregnancy will prevent spina bifida. However, unless the pregnancy has been planned and supplements have been taken, not all women will have sufficient quantities of folic acid in their system. With many surprise pregnancies it is important that women of child-bearing age maintain their level of folic acid in event they do become pregnant. It is recommended that women have daily supplements of at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Bread, pasta as well as rice contain up to 400 micrograms of folic acid in every serving. While this may be the best natural way to help prevent the potential of giving birth to an infant with spina bifida. Unless these natural foods are consumed daily it is no guarantee that the body is fortified with the supplement. Future pregnancies If a woman has already given birth to a child with spina bifida and are planning another pregnancy they will want to increase their intake of folic acid to prevent another like birth. Those on anti-seizure medications or those with diabetes may also need to increase their vitamin B intake in addition to an increased supplement of folic acid. For these women it has been recommended a daily dose of four milligrams, 4,000 micrograms of folic acid be taken daily for at least 30 days prior to becoming pregnant. As with all supplements, it is also recommended to talk to your health care provider before adding them to a daily routine.   Short documentary from the CDC about how Folic Acid can reduce the chances of Spina Bifida Other causes besides folic acid deficiency A deficiency of folic acid is only one of the possible causes of spina bifida, and others include risk factors in the environment and genetics. However, folic acid deficiency is the one that potential mothers can control. While neural tube deficiencies may be an indicator of a woman having a greater potential to deliver a baby with spina bifida, infected babies have been born to parents with no family history of the disorder. Women with uncontrolled diabetes are also at a higher risk for having a baby with spina bifida.

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