SB&H Policy on Folic Acid and the Primary Prevention of Neural Tube Defects

Recent research provides strong scientific evidence that folic acid supplements taken by a woman for a period of time before and after conception significantly reduce the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects (NTD’s) in the fetus. As a result of this evidence:

The Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario recommends:

1. That all women of child-bearing age supplement their daily diet with 0.4 mg (milligram) folic acid to reduce the risk of a first occurrence of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. This recommended daily intake of folic acid is available in several multi-vitamin supplement preparations and should be taken at least three months prior to conception and through the first trimester of the pregnancy.

2. That women with a previous neural tube-affected pregnancy or a close-family history of NTDs, supplement their daily diet with 4mg folic acid at least three months prior to conception and during the first trimester. Women in these and other high risk groups should consult their physician.

and in consideration of the fact that the majority of pregnancies are unplanned, the Association recommends

3. That folic acid should be added to a staple food in a quantity sufficient to ensure every Canadian has a daily intake of 0.4 milligrams (mg.) to be certain that women who conceive unexpectedly are afforded the same measure of protection provided by folic acid supplements.

The Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario will strive to make the women of Ontario aware of the need to take folic acid supplements.

 

Approved: September 1993
Revised: April 2005