Go Folic in Scotland
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 life long 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 join forces with SHINE (who provide services in England Wales and Northern Ireland) to promote the Go Folic! Campaign in Scotland.
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. As most pregnancies are unplanned, the Association recommend that all sexually active women of child bearing age in Scotland, who are thinking of becoming pregnant or might get pregnant by accident, should be taking 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.
To find out more about the Go Folic campaign please visit the national Go Folic Website