How to Prevent Spina Bifida

How to Prevent Spina Bifida

We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

How to Prevent Spina Bifida

, How to Prevent Spina BifidaOne of the most important ways to prevent (greatly reduce risk of spina bifida and neural tube defects, but cannot prevent in 100% of cases) spina bifida and neural tube defects is to supplement folic acid one month prior to conception and continue for first trimester (first three months of pregnancy). To start supplementation folic acid one month prior to conception requires planned pregnancy. Only planned pregnancy can help reduce risk of spina bifida.

Planned pregnancy to prevent spina bifida:

Planning of pregnancy is the utmost important in preventing neural tube defects and spina bifida. It is recommended that daily supplementation of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Starting supplementation after diagnosis of pregnancy has little value if any in preventing spina bifida and neural tube defects, because by that time organogenesis (generation/development of organs) may have already started; hence folic acid supplementation has to be started before conception, to be effective in preventing spina bifida and neural tube defects. Folic acid (may be labeled as folate, which is natural form of folic acid) is also available in fortified foods, breakfast cereals, rice etc.

Folic acid present in food may not be easy to absorb or pregnant woman may not consume adequate (recommended) amount of folic acid daily due to improper planning of diet. Foods rich in folic acid include green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, asparagus, and various other cereals, pulses, legumes, lentils etc.

Planning of diet during pregnancy as well as before conception with adequate folic acid (either by supplementation or by consuming foods fortified with folic acid) is essential. Diet should contain adequate dark green leafy vegetables, beans, broccoli, and citrus fruits etc. that are rich in folic acid.

When you may need more folic acid:

Extra supplementation (more than commonly recommended dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid) folic acid may be required, if you have already given birth to a baby with spina bifida or other neural tube defects, cleft lips, cleft palate etc. If you are taking anti epileptic medication such as phenytoin, you will require extra folic acid supplementation, because anti epileptic medications increase risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. You may also require extra folic acid supplementation if you are diabetic. You may require high dose of 4,000 micrograms of folic acid daily, but consult your doctor before taking such huge amount of folic acid.

Folic acid supplementation at right time is important. Simple folic acid supplementation may not be helpful, if it is not done at right time and the right time to start folic acid supplementation is one month prior to conception/pregnancy (for that planned pregnancy is must) to be continued for at least first three months of pregnancy. Plan pregnancy and prevent spina bifida and various other congenital problems in your baby.

Image courtesy of Maggie Smith /

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