Taking folate should begin long before you consider getting pregnant

Preganant woman pixabayThe plight of neural tube defects (NTD) in the early stages of pregnancy and related complications can be reduced if proper care is taken, and more women are made aware of the options available to them to combat this debilitating condition suffered by some newborn babies. Taking folate at the right time cannot be emphasised enough as a primary intervention mechanism to mitigate NTD prevalence, particularly amongst women in their reproductive age. Folate has a well-established protective role against both first occurrence and the recurrence of NTDs.

NTDs are major malformations resulting from the failure of the neural tube to close properly and can have serious consequences for a child’s quality of life. Normally, the neural tube closes in the first few weeks of pregnancy often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.

In fact, about 300 000 babies worldwide are born with NTDs annually. Infants with spina bifida – when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) don’t form properly around part of the baby’s spinal cord – have life-long disabilities with varying degrees of paralysis. For example it can cause paralysis of the legs or loss of bowel or bladder control. Sadly, babies with anencephaly – the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp that occurs during embryonic development – usually die within a few days of birth.

The devastating effects of NTD necessitates an early preventative measure to build-up the necessary level of folate amongst child-bearing women. Since folates belong to the group of B vitamins and cannot be produced by the body women should talk to their doctors about the available options of supplementing folate prior to contemplating even getting pregnant. Folate is able to facilitate a number of essential functions within the body, including enabling the healthy development and growth of the foetus in the womb.

Women are at a distinct advantage if they have elevated folate levels by the time they conceive. A large body of evidence suggests that the risk of NTDs can be substantially reduced if women who are planning a pregnancy supplement their diet with a daily intake of folic acid at least a month before and during the early weeks of pregnancy.

Because there are limitations on how much folate one can derive from ordinary food – where one would have had to consume large amounts like 500g of raw spinach, 900g boiled spinach or 900g raw broccoli (about 12 cups) to achieve the required folate content from foods – a supplementary intake of folate is recommended as a viable option available to intervene against NTDs. A diet rich in folate foods is important, but alone is insufficient.

If you are a woman of child-bearing age, taking a contraceptive for the purpose of spacing your children, please talk to your Doctor about the newer options of folate supplementation.



Latest


26 Feb 2021
Melcura HoneyGel revolutionises at-home wound care

Medika SA trading as the Melcura brand, a trusted and well-established wound care brand that has been based in hospitals…

Melcura HoneyGel revolutionises at-home wound care

Medika SA trading as the Melcura brand, a trusted and well-established wound care brand that has been based in hospitals for over 15 years, has finally launched online and at select local pharmacies. Melcura products are a crucial component in one’s arsenal for fast, complete wound healing when an accident…

25 Feb 2021
Environ is named Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade

Environ Skin Care has won the award for Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade. With a long list of…

Environ is named Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade

Environ Skin Care has won the award for Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade. With a long list of over 100 highly esteemed recognitions received for outstanding products worldwide, South African born, globally recognised professional brand Environ Skin Care has been on an international winning streak the past few…

25 Feb 2021
Adcock Ingram reports resilient trading performance despite COVID-19 challenges

The Adcock Ingram Group has achieved a 4% increase in turnover for the six month period to 31 December 2020.…

Adcock Ingram reports resilient trading performance despite COVID-19 challenges

The Adcock Ingram Group has achieved a 4% increase in turnover for the six month period to 31 December 2020. The company achieved these results despite challenging trading conditions caused by COVID-19, a depressed economy and decline in demand for certain categories of medicine and products. Performance metrics include: •         …

24 Feb 2021
Virtual conference drives the goal to buy Africa for Africa

The Made in Africa Conference and Expo will be the largest ever virtual gathering of and showcase of African buyers…

Virtual conference drives the goal to buy Africa for Africa

The Made in Africa Conference and Expo will be the largest ever virtual gathering of and showcase of African buyers and sellers, taking place on 13 and 14 April 2021.   With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing African nations to develop local solutions to the continent’s challenges, the time has come…


Top stories


25 Jun 2020
How to ensure business agility in a pandemic

BY: Neil Birch, CEO at Novus Holdings Business agility is the capability of a business to respond quickly to a…

How to ensure business agility in a pandemic

BY: Neil Birch, CEO at Novus Holdings Business agility is the capability of a business to respond quickly to a changing environment, whether it be internal or external. Qualities of agile businesses include being adaptive, flexible and creative in your response to change without losing momentum (remaining productive) or vision.…

01 May 2020
Fibertex manufactures critical components for COVID-19 PPE

Fibertex SA, part of the global Fibertex Nonwovens group, has developed versatile high-performance components for protective facemasks and respirators. “Fibertex,…

Fibertex manufactures critical components for COVID-19 PPE

Fibertex SA, part of the global Fibertex Nonwovens group, has developed versatile high-performance components for protective facemasks and respirators. “Fibertex, which continuously invests in technological advancements to meet requirements in diverse industries – has increased production capacity of materials so desperately needed during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Rosa Naidoo,…

23 Apr 2020
Are you South Africa’s best female entrepreneur?

Entries are now open for the Santam Women of the Future Awards 2020 in association with Fairlady and True Love.…

Are you South Africa’s best female entrepreneur?

Entries are now open for the Santam Women of the Future Awards 2020 in association with Fairlady and True Love. Santam, Fairlady and, for the first time this year, Truelove Magazine, have partnered up in the search to find the best female entrepreneurs in the country. Best women entrepreneurs If…

30 Nov 2017
Rooibos could reduce risk of “Type 3” diabetes – a precursor to Alzheimer’s

Researchers at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the US found a link between a relatively new form…

Rooibos could reduce risk of “Type 3” diabetes – a precursor to Alzheimer’s

Researchers at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the US found a link between a relatively new form of diabetes, known as “type 3” diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za