As a health care professional, you can help women reduce their risk of having a child with Spina Bifida. The B-vitamin folic acid has been shown to significantly reduce the risk. It only takes a few seconds to help your patients reduce their risk of Spina Bifida.

Take a minute to learn how!

Don’t assume that someone else is telling women about folic acid. You may be the only one! Women listen to your advice.

What to say…

“Are you taking folic acid?”

Why?…

Research has shown that the B-vitamin folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects like Spina Bifida by up to 70%.

Although many genetic and environmental factors play a role in Spina Bifida, women can know they are doing what they can to reduce their risk by taking folic acid every day. The easiest way for women to get the folic acid they need is by taking a multivitamin with folic acid every day.

Some women need more folic acid.

Every woman needs folic acid every day. Some women need more. Women may have taken folic acid and still had a pregnancy affected by Spina Bifida.

What to say…

Folic acid cannot guarantee having a healthy baby, but it helps reduce the risk of birth defects like Spina Bifida

Why?…

It is important to allay any guilt feelings that women who already have had an affected pregnancy may have.

Women need to feel comfortable discussing folic acid with you. Since women who have taken folic acid but still had an affected pregnancy often feel judged, it is important to discuss folic acid as a precaution that can help reduce their risk in the future. These women need to plan their next pregnancy and take a prescription level of folic acid.

Rx Folic Acid

Women are at greater risk for recurrence if they have:

  • A child with Spina Bifida
  • Spina Bifida themselves
  • Lost an affected pregnancy

These women need more folic acid by prescription to reduce their risk for having a future pregnancy affected by Spina Bifida. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that women at risk for recurrence plan their next pregnancy and take 4000 mcg (4.0mg) for at least 1 month before trying to become pregnant.

Identify women at risk for recurrence by reviewing their medical history.

What to say…

Plan your next pregnancy. You’ll need ten times more folic acid by prescription for 1 to 3 months before you try to become pregnant.

Why?…

Women are not sure how much folic acid they need and when to start taking it. Women need to know the recommendation and appreciate factual information from you. Encourage women at risk for recurrence to take a multivitamin with folic acid every day, even when not planning a pregnancy. Help your patients plan for their future pregnancies.

Give patients a sense of control. Many women who have already had a pregnancy affected by Spina Bifida feel powerless over their next pregnancy. You can quickly address these concerns in your folic acid counseling session.

What to say…

Many factors influence pregnancy, like your genes and your environment. Do what you can by taking folic acid every day.

Why?…

Women need to be reassured that folic acid is effective in reducing their risk. Women can have a sense of control over their situation by taking folic acid every day.Many women have different misconceptions about Spina Bifida and folic acid. These misconceptions include beliefs that are part of a woman’s culture. You can help women understand the facts about Spina Bifida and folic acid by taking a few seconds to counsel them.

Every woman needs folic acid every day. Some women need more. Some women are at risk for recurrence or having a future affected pregnancy and need more by prescription.

Take a Few Seconds to Say

  1. Are you taking folic acid?
  2. Folic acid cannot guarantee having a healthy baby, but it helps reduce the risk of birth defects like Spina Bifida.
  3. Plan your next pregnancy. You’ll need ten times more folic acid by prescription for 1 to 3 months before you try to become pregnant.
  4. Many factors influence pregnancy like your genes and your environment. Do what you can by taking folic acid every day.