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Can open spina bifida be prevented?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The best way to reduce the risk of your baby developing the defect is to make sure you are getting enough folic acid (also called folate or vitamin B-9), not just during pregnancy, but also before. This is because folic acid can take a while to get absorbed into the system. You can get folic acid through certain foods like dark green vegetables, egg yolks, beans, and citrus fruits are naturally high in folic acid. Other foods, particularly breakfast cereals, are now fortified with extra folic acid. Nevertheless, doctors recommend women of childbearing age make sure they're taking 0.4 milligrams of folic acid a day, even if they're not planning on getting pregnant. This total should be significantly higher, in the neighborhood of 4 milligrams, for women with a history of spina bifida or tubal disorders in their families or diabetic women planning on getting pregnant in the next month.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.