The Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH) launched Go Folic! last week in Belfast, a major new campaign urging all sexually active women who might become pregnant to take the correct dose of folic acid everyday.
The campaign aims to improve womens’ folic acid intake and in doing so reduce the incidence of Neural Tube Defects such as spina bifida, which occur in the early weeks of pregnancy. Every day in the UK, an average of two babies conceived - 900 each year - will go on to develop a Neural Tube Defect (NTD), of which up to 72% are preventable if women took folic acid tablets at the right time and dosage.
Anyone who has had children will no doubt have been told of the importance of folic acid in the early stages of pregnancy, but ASBAH are striving to inform more women of the need to take pre-pregnancy supplements as the majority of NTDs occure in the first 28 days of pregnancy, before many women even realise they are pregnant.
ASBAH Northern Ireland Director Cathy McKillop has called on everyone who can influence women on this critical issue to get behind the campaign and help reduce the often tragic consequences of NTDs stating:
"NTDs are a serious health threat which can lead to enormous challenges and painful decisions. The most serious form, anencephaly, means that the baby will not live beyond birth, and many babies born with spina bifida face a life with serious, multiple disabilities. We can drastically reduce the incidence of NTDs if we can get women to take folic acid correctly. We need a concerted effort from everyone - not just health professionals - to get this message across to women: If you are sexually active and might become pregnant, take a folic acid tablet everyday; it's simple to Go Folic!"
So if you or anyone you know is considering getting pregnant, please help pass this important message along by sharing, tweeting or discussing this article. You can also check out the important work being done by ASBAH by visiting their website at http://www.asbah.org/