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29 February 2024

DHA highlights importance of folic acid in preventing neural tube defects during pregnancy

By Wam

In a bid to raise awareness about the importance of folic acid consumption in reducing neural tube defects, Latifa Hospital’s pediatric surgery department has launched a campaign in this regard.

According to international statistics, 50-70% of neural tube defects which are birth defects of the spinal cord can be prevented by folic acid consumption.

Dr. Ghadir Jaber, Consultant Pediatric Surgeon at Latifa Hospital, said, "Folic acid consumption reduces the risk of birth defects of the baby’s brain and spinal cord, therefore it is advisable that all married women of child bearing age take 400mcg of Folic Acid daily."

Sources of folic acid include dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, dried legumes as chickpeas, beans and lentils, as well as supplements.

She added that taking 400mcg of Folic acid for at least one-month before conception and during the first trimester, reduces the chance of having a baby with neural tube defects by 50-70%.

"Many women are still unaware of importance of folic acid or are not educated about the right time to start taking it (before pregnancy). This puts thousands of pregnancies at unnecessary risk, so we aim to communicate this important message more powerfully to protect many vulnerable pregnancies in Dubai and the UAE," Dr. Jaber concluded.