Pregnant Women - Folic Acid To Be Added To Bread To Avoid Birth Defects
Folic Acid is essential to prevent babies being born with Spina Bifida. UK Government considering adding Folic Acid to flour at the milling stage. Other countries are already doing this and babies being born with Spina Bifida has dropped by 30 - 50%.
Why Add Folic Acid To Bread?As bread is part of the staple diet of most people, adding Folic Acid, will mean everybody will be taking Folic Acid, whether they wish to or not.
The people, who it is actually aimed at, are pregnant women. So by adding Folic Acid to bread, it could reduce the number of babies being born with Spina Bifida.
What Is Spina Bifida?Spina Bifida is a serious condition where the baby is born with part of the spine not completely developed, so leaving the nerves in the back unprotected and exposed.
This defect can happen during the first month of pregnancy.
As the spinal cord is part of the brain … ie the nerves connected to the spinal cord are unable to send messages to the brain. This means that the baby may not be able to walk; and even the ability to learn may be affected.
It is possible to operate on the newborn baby to close the gap, but as the nerve damage has already happened, the damage is permanent and unfortunately an operation on the nerves is of no use.
Other complications due to the baby having Spina Bifida are that the baby may have problems with their bowels and bladder.
A close relation to Spina Bifida is Hydrocephalus (an accumulation of spinal fluid on the brain).
Is There Any Treatment For The Baby With Spina Bifida?Apart from the operation soon after birth to close the gap, the best that can be done to help the baby to live as normal a life as possible is treating each problem with medication and physiotherapy.
Many individuals with Spina Bifida will need help of some kind for the rest of their lives. This may involve the use of devices, such as braces and wheelchairs.
What Is The Prognosis For People With Spina Bifida?The prognosis for each individual is dependent on what defects there are:
Prognosis is at its worst for the baby born with complete paralysis. But with proper care most children with Spina Bifida can live for many years into adulthood.
How Many Babies Are Born With Spina Bifida? The number of babies born with Spina Bifida in the UK is between 700 – 900 per year; while in the US one in every 2000 births are affected.
Some countries have already started adding Folic Acid to their flour and this is showing as a drop of between 30 – 50% in babies born with Spina Bifida.
Who’s Idea Is This?The Government’s food watchdog – The Food Standard’s Agency are putting forward the idea of adding Folic Acid to flour at its milling stage.
Although in 2002 the Food Standard Agency rejected a report put forward in 2000. So why have they changed their minds yet again? Maybe due to other countries that have been adding Folic Acid to their bread are showing a drop in babies being born with Spina Bifida.
How Much Is It Likely To Cost?It has been estimated that the cost to industry will be around £700 000 a year.
Is There A Downside To Giving Everyone Folic Acid?As people are being mass medicated this can cause concern for many. Also medically, taking Folic Acid can mean that older people with a Vitamin B12 deficiency resulting in Pernicious Anaemia may not be noticed immediately and so their treatment will be delayed.
What Can A Woman Of Child Bearing Years Do?As many pregnancies are unplanned and it is being proved that a deficiency of Folic Acid may result in a baby being born with Spina Bifida; including Folic Acid in the food they eat should be a must have. It is highly recommended that all women of childbearing years should take Folic Acid in a Nutritional Supplement and eat plenty of green vegetables, as they are rich in Folic Acid.
By adding Folic Acid to bread it will hopefully result in less babies being born with Spina Bifida. And this can only be a good thing can’t it?
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