Prevention

There is no known cause of Spina Bifida, but research has shown that if a woman takes 400 mcg of folic acid every day and before she becomes pregnant, she reduces her risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida or another neural tube defect by as much as 70%. The exact cause of the rest of the cases is unknown, but it is believed that genetics and environment may play a role.

Folic Acid Awareness

Through prevention programs and services, our network of organizations works with healthcare professionals to ensure this important information reaches the 65 million women of childbearing age. Through health fairs and other events occurring in California throughout the year,  SBA of CA:

  • Promotes Folic Acid Awareness Week - the first full week of January
     
  • Participates in local health fairs and expos

Recurrence Prevention

All women who could become pregnant are at risk for having a pregnancy affected by Spina Bifida. Women who have:

  • a child with Spina Bifida
     
  • Spina Bifida themselves
     
  • already had a pregnancy affected by any neural tube defect

are at greater risk of having a child affected by Spina Bifida or another neural tube defect. These women have an increased risk of having a future affected pregnancy or recurrence.


SBA of CA's goals for recurrence prevention:

  • Educate women affected by neural tube defects (NTDs)
     
  • Inform health care providers about the relationship between folic acid and NTDs, specifically Spina Bifida
     
  • Increase folic acid consumption among all women, specifically those affected by Spina Bifida
     
  • Increase the number of health care professionals who appropriately counsel women about folic acid

Increasing folic acid intake has helped some women to reduce the risks of having another pregnancy affected by Spina Bifida.


General Recommendation:

  • All women of childbearing age need a daily dose of 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of synthetic folic acid.
     
  • This amount is available through a multivitamin, available in stores, in addition to a healthy diet.

History of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) Recommendation:

  • A higher prescription dose of 4000 micrograms (4.0 mg) beginning one to three months before pregnancy and in the first trimester of pregnancy, reduces the risk of having another affected pregnancy by up to 70 percent.

This amount is available through prescription of four 1.0 mg tablets daily.

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For more information contact:

Breanne Walter
1-800-621-3141 ext.31
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