Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Surge in spina bifida cases prompts folic acid warning

  • Comment

A surge in the number of spina bifida cases in Scotland has prompted advice urging all women of child-bearing age to take folic acid supplements.

The Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA) reports that 15 babies - twice the usual number - have been born with the condition this year.

Says SSBA chairman Dr Margo Whiteford: “The spinal cord develops within the first four weeks of pregnancy, so by that stage it’s too late - if the baby’s going to have spina bifida it will already have developed it.”

The Food Standards Agency (DSA) recommends that pregnant women take 400 micrograms folic acid supplement a day until the 12th week of pregnancy.

But says Dr Whiteford: “Women do know about folic acid preventing spina bifida, but they wait until they’ve missed a period before they start taking it, which is too late

“We don’t know if this surge in numbers is down to folic acid, but we do know that most women don’t take enough folic acid at the right time.”

Spina bifida causes deformities in vertebrae in the backbone, which often lead to paralysis from the waist down and other damage to the nervous system.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs