Spina bifida is a serious birth defect affecting the spinal cord and backbone. But Spina bifida can be prevented by ensuring adequate intake of folic acid.

Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs during the early stages of pregnancy when the spinal column does not form properly. This can lead to various health issues, ranging from mild to severe, affecting the individual’s mobility, bladder control, and sometimes cognitive function.

Here are a few possible ways in which folic acid help prevent spina bifida:

When the foetus is developing in the early stages of pregnancy, folic acid helps in the formation of the neural tube. Folic acid is essential as it reduces the risk of serious birth defects that affect the baby’s brain and spine, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. The neural tube gives rise to the early brain and spine.

Spina Bifida in Pregnancy

Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs during early foetal development when the neural tube, which eventually forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord, fails to close properly. Folic acid plays a crucial role in preventing spina bifida and other neural tube defects. In the following ways-

  • Neural Tube Formation: Folic acid helps in DNA synthesis and cell division. During the early stages of pregnancy, it helps in the proper formation and closure of the neural tube in the developing foetus. The neural tube transforms into the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
  • DNA and Cell Growth: Folic acid is essential for the production and maintenance of new cells, including the rapidly dividing cells of the developing neural tube. It provides the necessary building blocks for DNA synthesis and supports healthy cell growth.
  • Methylation Processes: Folic acid is also involved in a process called methylation, which is necessary for the proper functioning of genes.  Methylation controls gene expression, ensuring that they are activated or deactivated at the appropriate period during development. Proper methylation patterns are crucial for the normal development of the neural tube.
  • Reducing Homocysteine Levels: Folic acid is involved in the metabolism of an amino acid called homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine in the mother’s blood have been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects. Folic acid helps convert homocysteine into other substances, thereby reducing its concentration in the bloodstream.

To prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects, it is recommended that women who are planning to become pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy take a daily supplement of folic acid. Not only through food items, but prenatal multivitamins are also good sources of folic acid. Trimacare is a prenatal multivitamin that is specially made for Indian pregnant women, taking care of the needs of Indian pregnant women. Trimacare contains folate that stimulates the growth of the child’s spine and brain.