Spina Bifida Linked To Folic Acid Deficiency During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman in kitchen eating a salad smilingProper nutrition is extremely important during pregnancy. Everyone who has been pregnant or is thinking about becoming pregnant has likely heard about the importance of Folate (or Folic Acid) during pregnancy. One of the biggest reasons to get folate during pregnancy is to prevent birth defects.

One of the birth defects most commonly associated with folate deficiency is spina bifida. According to kidshealth.org, spina bifida is when “the two sides of the embryo’s spine fail to join together, leaving an open area. In some cases, the spinal cord or other membranes may push through this opening in the back.” Spina bifida occurs in two forms: spina bifida occulta and spina bifida manifesta.

Spina bifida occulta is the more mild form of spina bifida while spina bifida manifesta is more severe. Kidshealth.org says, “Children with spina bifida often have problems with bowel and bladder control, and some may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other learning difficulties, such as hand-eye coordination problems.” There are a number of treatment options available for children born with spina bifida depending on the severity of the condition.

Mayo Clinic says “the neural tube forms early in the pregnancy and closes by the 28th day after conception.” Because spina bifida develops so early in pregnancy it’s important, whenever possible, to start folate supplementation before conception occurs. The recommended daily intake of folate during pregnancy is 400 mcg/day.

According to Mayo Clinic, spina bifida “appears to result from a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors, such as a family history of neural tube defects and folic acid deficiency.” So, if you’re pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant make sure to take a prenatal that contains at least 400mcg of folate (or folic acid) per serving. Liquid Health manufactures a liquid prenatal vitamin that contains 800 mcg of folate.