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International Birth Defects Information Systems
Folic Acid Prevention Birth Defects

International Birth Defects Information Systems

Folic Acid Prevention Birth Defects

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Topics: | Folic Acid | NTD |

Related Topics: | Neural Tube Defects (NTD)- Anencephaly - Spina Bifida | Disabilities | Birth Defects |

Service Related: | Support Groups | Professional Associations | Key Information Sources |

Languages: | English | Spanish | Ukranian |

Notes per Visitors  

You need to know that Folic Acid supplements can prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects (NTD) and other malformations. NTD malformations include spina bifida (open spine); meningomyeloceles, myeloceles; anencephaly (open skull);  encephalocele (gap in the skull) and other anomalies. 

Please Remember - Enough Folic Acid cannot be obtained by diet alone, you need a supplement. Over 70% of NTD and other birth defects can be prevented by taking 0.4mg of folic acid each day (as pills or as vitamin pills with folic acid). All women should take a supplement because most pregnancies are unexpected. Starting to take folic acid only when pregnant is too late.

If an instance of NTD has occurred in your family, you should ask your physician or a medical geneticist to prescribe folic acid for you. You may need much more folic acid (4mg) because NTD risks in your family may be higher.

Finally, consider that folic acid probably decreases the occurrence of other birth defects and prevents cardiovascular problems as we grow older.

Proof Folic Acid Protects Women of Childbearing Age (Oct 27, 2000)
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation said today that there is not sufficient evidence for a claim that deficiency of the B vitamin folic acid "has all but vanished in the United States" as a result of food fortification ... The FDA ... must raise blood levels of the vitamin among women of childbearing age - and raise them enough to have a strong preventive effect against birth defects. As yet, there is no direct evidence that women in the 15 to 40-year age range have generally attained protective blood levels of folic acid ...

More detailed information provided by the FDA
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 1999

Folic Acid Now
CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Why folic Acid is so Important.

Folic Acid
March of Dimes, 2007
Folic acid may decrease the risk of your unborn baby developing serious birth defects called neural tube defects or NTDs ...

Folic Acid to Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects
Teratology Society Consensus Statement, Teratology 55: 381 (1997)
Recent randomized controlled studies ... have shown that women who consume folic acid-containing supplements, while eating their usual diets, have 50-75% fewer infants with neural with neural tube defects.

How Folate Can Help Prevent Birth Defects
Paula Kurtzweil, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Consumer , July 1996, Revised February 1999.
Here's important information for the future mother-to-be: Think folate now ...

Folic Acid Fortification
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Public Affairs, February 29, 1996

Knowledge & use of Folic Acid by Women of Childbearing Age - United States, 1995 & 1998
MMWR Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report, April 30, 1999

Knowledge About Folic Acid & Use of Multivitamins Containing Folic Acid Among Reproductive-Aged Women -- Georgia, 1995
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 1998
A comprehensive study of women's health that includes questions about folic acid. This report summarizes the survey findings regarding knowledge and use of folic acid, which indicate that only 20% of Georgia women aged 15-44 years consumed a multivitamin containing greater than or equal to 400 ug of folic acid per day, and 71% did not know that folic acid can prevent some birth defects ... Prevalence of knowledge about folic acid varied directly by respondent's educational and income levels. Women with a college degree were more likely to have heard about folic acid than were those with only some high school (45% versus 12%), and women with incomes above 150% of poverty level were more likely than women with incomes below 150% of poverty level (31% versus 18%). Women with higher educational levels were more likely to consume a multivitamin containing greater than or  equal to 400 ug of folic acid per day than were less educated women ...

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate
Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods ... Folate gets its name from the Latin word "folium" for leaf ... Folate helps produce and maintain new cells [2]. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells ... In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published regulations requiring the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals ...

Ácido fólico
March of Dimes, November 2006
Visitor Comments [Spanish]

Acido Fólico Ahora
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 17, 2006
Visitor Comments [Spanish]

Folic Acid and NTD Prevention
IBIS Birth Defects, February 5, 2002
Visitor Comments [Ukrainian]
Fact sheet in Ukrainian about folic acid role in prevention of neural tube defects for specialists

Folic Acid: Special Geno-Terato-Epi-Tome Issue
IBIS Birth Defects
Visitor Comments [Ukrainian]
Special folic acid issue of Ukrainian Geno-Terato-Epi-Tome ... Folic acid: real revolution in medicine ... Birth defects are considered to be one of the main causes of disabilities and infant mortality ... Information about spina bifida and anencephaly for specialists and parents ... Folic acid and colon cancer ... Folic acid and atherosclerosis ... Folic acid efficacy in prevention of neural tube defects ... 1997 indices of birth defects in USA ... Awareness of women of childbearing age concerning folic acid use in USA (1995-1997) ... Folic acid and NTD prevention: bibliography

Folic Acid
IBIS Birth Defects, February 15, 2002
Visitor Comments [Ukrainian]
Fact sheet in Ukrainian about folic acid for parents

Folic Acid Revolution (slides)
IBIS Birth Defects, February 14, 2002
Visitor Comments [Ukrainian]

Lecture materials by Dr. Godfrey P. Oakley, Department of Epidemiology, the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, USA

Folic Acid Fortification and Public Health (slides)
IBIS Birth Defects, September 29, 2002
Visitor Comments [Ukrainian]
Slides in Ukrainian about folic acid flour fortification prepared by Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program Consultant Dr. Olena Trush


Last Updated: 2008/5/19


American Medical Association