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Medicineworld.org: Take Folic Acid To Reduce Birth Defects

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Take Folic Acid To Reduce Birth Defects

Take Folic Acid To Reduce Birth Defects
January 9-15 is Folic Acid Awareness Week and the March of Dimes is reminding women capable of having a baby to add folic acid to their diet - before starting a family.

If all women of childbearing age took 400 micrograms of folic acid daily - before and during pregnancy -- it could help prevent up to as much as 70 percent of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects, (NTDs), serious birth defects of the brain and spine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Julia Flores of Chicago knows the benefits of folic acid. Her first child, 10-year-old Gabriel was born with a brain stem malformation. Her second baby, Nicholas, was born three years later with spina bifida and lived only three hours.

Before her next pregnancy, Mrs. Flores' doctor prescribed 800 micrograms of folic acid daily. Her third baby, Jacob, who will be five in May, was born healthy.

"Thank goodness my doctor knew about folic acid and prescribed it for me. I'm not planing to have any more children, but I still take it in a multivitamin, " said Mrs. Flores. "I tell all the women I know to take folic acid. Just take it. My sister's doctor instructed her to take it because of my history - and her babies are fine".

Since 1995, the March of Dimes and the CDC have recommended that all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, before conception and continuing into the early months of pregnancy. NTDs occur in the first few weeks after conception, often before a woman knows she's pregnant and affects about 3,000 pregnancies annually.

Unfortunately, only one-third of women take a multivitamin containing the B vitamin folic acid daily, according to a Gallup survey conducted for the March of Dimes and the CDC.

"Folic acid is the most important vitamin women can take to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine, and it's most important they take it before they get pregnant," said Janis Biermann, March of Dimes vice president of Education and Health.

"Folic acid has been proven to be the most effective and reliable method to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly," said Dr. Jose Cordero, director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

There are a number of ways a woman can increase the folic acid in her diet. Enriched grain foods in the United States must contain 140 micrograms of folic acid per 100 grams of grain. Good sources of folic acid or folate, which occurs naturally in food, include: enriched grain products, such as bread and pasta; fortified breakfast cereals; beans; green leafy vegetables; and orange juice.
"It is important for women to understand that enriched grains are a primary source of folic acid, which is critical during their childbearing years," said Judi Adams, MS, RD, president of the Grain Foods Foundation.

Source: March of Dimes

Posted By: JoAnn




Did you know?
January 9-15 is Folic Acid Awareness Week and the March of Dimes is reminding women capable of having a baby to add folic acid to their diet - before starting a family. If all women of childbearing age took 400 micrograms of folic acid daily - before and during pregnancy -- it could help prevent up to as much as 70 percent of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects, (NTDs), serious birth defects of the brain and spine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medicineworld.org: Take Folic Acid To Reduce Birth Defects

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