Are you getting enough?
The aim of the “Are you getting enough?” campaign in Scotland is to find new ways to increase folate intake to prevent Neural Tube Defects (NTD) of which spina bifida is the most common.
This is particularly relevant for all sexually active women of child bearing age in Scotland, as historically Scotland has had a higher prevalence of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) than the rest of Europe (Eurocat 2010). The latest figures available in Scotland confirms that over 1 in every 1000 pregnancies are affected. (SPMMR:2010).
Spina bifida is a Neural Tube Defect which occurs in pregnancy. It is caused by the failure of the neural tube to close properly and the fault occurs in the first 28 days of pregnancy. This may result in multiple disabilities. Many people born with spina bifida will be lifelong wheelchair users. A majority also have hydrocephalus which can cause learning difficulties. The knowledge that a simple B vitamin (folic acid) can help to prevent these lifelong disabilities is the spur for the Scottish Spina Bifida Association to promote the “Are you getting enough? ” campaign.
To find out about Folic Acid and it's importance please click here
NHS guidelines state that every woman who might become pregnant should take folic acid supplements as a precaution. However, folic acid needs to be taken prior to conception and not once the woman discovers that she is pregnant, as by that time the fault may already have developed.
For further information on the NHS guidelines and how much folic acid to take please click here
Unfortunately, a recent study has revealed that over *50% of women in Scotland are still not taking folic acid prior to pregnancy.
Additionally, as most pregnancies are unplanned, the Association is therefore recommending that all sexually active women of child bearing age in Scotland, who are thinking of becoming pregnant or might get pregnant by accident, should take folic acid regularly. Compliance could prevent up to 72% of NTDs. Sadly, most women do not follow the recommendations and so NTD rates remain stubbornly high.
This is why we urgently need a new campaign to increase women’s awareness in Scotland on the benefits of taking folic acid.
The campaign was launched on the 25th October 2013 to coincide with World Spina Bifida Day and will be followed on the 30th October by a Parliamentary Reception attended by Minister for Public Health Mr Michael Matheson.
The Minister for Public Health Mr Michael Matheson said:
“The Scottish Government recognises the need to increase the number of women taking folic acid supplements before they become pregnant and in the early part of pregnancy. This is an important way of reducing the number of babies born with Neural Tube Defects in Scotland.
We welcome the Scottish Spina Bifida Association’s National Folic Acid Awareness Campaign which endorses NHS Guidelines that every woman who is planning to become, or might become pregnant, should take the appropriate folic acid supplements.”
To read more about the “Are you getting enough?” campaign click here
Please watch Ella's story below
*Bradshaw, P., Bromley, C., Hill, T., Mabelis, J., Parkes, A., Smith, K., Sweeting, H., Warner, P. and Wight, D. (2013) Growing Up in Scotland: Birth Cohort 2 - Results from the first year, Edinburgh: Scottish Government.