The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) is excited to announce that we have teamed up with the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) to help promote the importance of maintaining a healthy diet in preventing birth defects like Spina Bifida (SB) in future generations. With this partnership, our focus will be educating people who are not a part of the SB Community.

Research has shown that if a woman takes 400 micrograms (mcgs) of folic acid daily – prior to and during her pregnancy – she can reduce her risk of having a child born with a neural tube defect by up to 70%. That’s important information for women of childbearing age to have – especially when half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.

Since 1998, when the Food and Drug Administration required enriched grains to be fortified with folic acid, we have seen a 35% decrease in neural tube defects.

Can folic acid guarantee a healthy baby? No. But it plays an important role in the development of every child.

What can you do to help during National Birth Defects Prevention Month (and throughout the year)?

  1. Take a daily multi-vitamin. While folic acid cannot guarantee the prevention of Spina Bifida, it does play an important role in every child’s development. Research has shown that women who take 400 mcgs of folic acid daily – prior to and during pregnancy – can reduce their risk of having a child born with a neural tube defect by up to 70%. That’s important information for women of childbearing age, especially since half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned!
  2. Eat well. We can all improve our diets by incorporating foods rich in natural folate such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, and beans as well as foods fortified with folic acid such as breads, crackers, pastas, and cereals. Folic acid helps all of us generate healthy cells, which is not only important for fetal development, but for our skin, hair, and nails!
  3. Your story matters. Every time you share your story, you raise awareness about SB and help people outside of the community better understand the birth defect.

You can also encourage your networks to watch “The Bread Trail,” a PSA produced by GFF and SBA, or to learn more about folic acid here.

To read the full press release about this project, click here.