oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Prevention of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) with folic acid : what is the optimal dose? : advertorial

Volume 76, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017



A woman's risk of having a foetus or infant with a neural-tube defect can be reduced by the consumption of a multivitamin containing folic acid during the periconception period. The first results of a clinical trial showing that folic acid can prevent the risk of getting a baby with neural tube defect was published in 1980. Since then several other epidemiologic and clinical trials have been performed confirming that an adequate folate supply during early pregnancy can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by 70 to 75 percent. Terminations of pregnancies following prenatal diagnosis of these congenital malformations could be reduced to a similar degree. Importantly, the neural tube closes within 28 days of conception and the NTD malformations may have occurred before a woman even knows that she is pregnant. Official bodies worldwide therefore recommend that women take an additional 400 micrograms per day folate / folic acid from before conception up to at least the 12th week after conception.

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