Saturday, February 16, 2008

Folic Acid Prevents Spina Bifida

(Image Source : ADAM)

I know this is old news, but every woman who is of child bearing age should take 0.4mg of folic acid a day to prevent brain and spine defects in their babies. Today one patient told me her obstetrician told her not to take any folic acid as it causes chromosome problems. I tried to look for any evidence of this, but all the studies showed that folic acid is safe and should be taken daily.

These are the American College of Physician Recommendations :

If women have enough folic acid in their bodies before pregnancy, this vitamin can decrease the risk for birth defects of the baby's brain or spine.

For many women, an easy way to be sure of getting enough folic acid is to take a vitamin with folic acid in it. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women who could possibly become pregnant get 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid every day.

This simple precaution could prevent up to 70 percent of some types of serious birth defects. But to do this, women need folic acid before they get pregnant. That's why you should get enough folic acid every day even if you're not thinking about a baby any time soon. Folic acid has been added to some foods, such as enriched breads, pastas, rice, and cereals. A few cereals have 100 percent of the folic acid you need.

No one expects an unplanned pregnancy. But they happen — every day. In fact, about half of all pregnancies are not planned. That's why you should get enough folic acid every day if there's any chance you could get pregnant. Because by the time you know you're pregnant, your baby's brain and spine are already formed.


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