Spina Bifida - A Nurses View

Jenny (pictured) is a nurse with family experience of spina bifida.

Jenny writes..........

Having had a sister who was very sadly stillborn in 1981 due to Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus I was fortunate to know about the importance of taking folic acid during pregnancy. 

Following my sister’s death my mum went on to have my younger brother and during this pregnancy she was involved in a drugs trial which undoubtedly proved that taking folic acid during pregnancy reduces the incidence of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs). 

My brother was born healthy with no congenital abnormalities.

Prior to conceiving my children I realised (partly also because I am a Nurse) that I needed to ensure I was also taking folic acid prenatally. 

I did some research on the internet and discovered that it was recommended that I take a high dose (5mg) of folic acid for 3 months before trying to conceive and then remain on that dose for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. 

The higher dose of folic acid is only available on prescription so I therefore had to see my GP to get it prescribed.  Both of my sons have been born healthy with no NTDs.

I strongly believe that all women who are trying to conceive or who could possibly fall pregnant need to be aware of the importance of taking folic acid prior to conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. 

I really hope that the Go Folic! campaign succeeds in raising awareness and reducing the heartbreak that NTDs often cause.  

Read: Higher Risk Groups

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15 October 2011, 06:01shabana qureshi

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Go Folic! is led by:

Spina bifida • Hydrocephalus • Information • Networking • Equality - SHINE (Registered Charity No 249338), covering England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Scotland is covered by the Scottish Spina Bifida Association - SSBA (Scottish Charity No SC 013328).

Our special thanks go to the Go Folic! Women's Nutrition Project in San Francisco for their inspiration and support.