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Can I prevent spina bifida during pregnancy?

Spina bifida is one of the most common birth defects, one that, in many cases, can be prevented by women consuming the right amount of folic acid.

Research shows women can reduce their unborn baby's risk of spina bifida and other birth defects affecting the brain and spinal cord by up to 70 percent by consuming at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily both prior to conception and during early pregnancy.

Since at least half of all pregnancies are unplanned, experts recommend all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.

If you're worried about spina bifida, there are a few measures you can take before becoming pregnant to give your child the best chance at avoiding the disorder before he or she is born.  -  Make sure you get plenty of folic acid beginning before you become pregnant and continuing through your pregnancy. Folic acid deficiency is associated with cases of spina bifida, and it is most essential to have this important nutrient at the beginning of pregnancy.

-  Avoid complications that can make your pregnancy at risk, including obesity, diabetes, and increased body temperature.

-  Don't take medications that can inhibit your ability to use folic acid; talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking.

-  Schedule prenatal testing and ultrasounds to check for spina bifida, especially if you suffer from the disease or have already had an affected child.

 

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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.