BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Women have to be very careful with what they consume during pregnancy as it looks like in the UK lack of folic acid caused birth defects.
Most women who get pregnant are very careful to have a healthy diet, a good intake of vitamins, to not smoke or take drugs; in other words to make sure they care for their baby even before they give birth. But sometimes, some substances which are necessary tend to be overlooked and this is what happened in the past years in the UK concerning folic acid.
The recommended amount of folic acid is of 400mcg a day in the first three months of pregnancy and also if you’re trying to get pregnant. If a future mother fails to take this supplement, the risk of neural defects for the baby increase. The risk of death for the fetus or the newborn child can also increase. Moreover, children who do survive are more likely to have disabilities.
In the UK, although recommendations regarding the fortification of flour with folic acid were made several times in 2000, 2006 and 2009, no policy has been adopted. Having more folic acid in flour is the best and easiest way to ensure pregnant women get enough of the substance, rather than convincing them to take the substance as a supplement.
According to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the number of abortions due to neural defects has almost doubled from 2009 to 2013 in Wales and England. Reports show that over 70 percent of pregnant women don’t take supplements of folic acid regularly not before nor after getting pregnant.
In the countries which have adopted the flour folic acid policy the risk of birth defects has been reduced. In the U.S. the risk of birth defects dropped by 23 percent. The other almost 80 countries which have included the vitamin in flour, have also registered a drop in abortions and birth defects.
According to UK studies recommending folic acid supplements to women has been completely ineffective, and therefore the only solution would be indeed to add folic acid into flour, to make sure the problems fetuses and babies have because of lack of this vitamin will be reduced.
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