Precaution against patent spinal cord
Sensational successes in preventing severe disabilities in newborns are now being reported. The use of folic acid in the first weeks of pregnancy works almost like a "magic bullet" to prevent the so-called "laid spinal cord". The doctors are now demanding that the he alth authorities should urgently recommend that all women who want to become pregnant take folic acid tablets. About 130 children are born in Austria with an "open spinal cord" every year, and in another 170 cases the pregnancy was terminated after this so-called neural tube defect was found in the embryo. The neural tube must have closed four weeks after the onset of pregnancy. If this is not the case, this is referred to as an "open spinal cord".
The consequences of the "open spinal cord" are serious deformities or disabilities. "This deformity is often accompanied by a so-called 'hydrocephalic', as well as paralysis of the legs and arms as well as unresolvable bladder and bowel emptying disorders," explained Wolfgang Arzt, Head of the Department of Prenatal Medicine at the Women's Clinic Linz.
The use of folic acid – a vitamin that belongs to the B group – in preventing an open spinal cord brings “sensational successes that cannot be explained in context to this day”, according to Arzt. Normally, intake from food is sufficient to meet a person's folic acid requirements. This vitamin is found in vegetables - especially in spinach and asparagus - as well as in yeast, cow's milk, but also in oranges, bananas and berries. This is obviously different for pregnant women. They need twice as much folic acid as women who are not expecting a child."This is probably where the key to folic acid prophylaxis against the neural tube defect 'open spinal cord' lies," emphasized Wolfgang Arzt.
The he alth authorities in a number of countries, for example in the USA, Canada and also in the Netherlands, therefore today expressly recommend that women take folic acid tablets, which are now available on the market. "Especially among the women themselves, there is still a lack of sufficient awareness of this new possibility," says Wolfgang Arzt. The tablets, which have no side effects for both the embryo and the woman herself, should be taken by the end of the twelfth week of pregnancy, since, according to the current state of medicine, it cannot be ruled out that folic acid - apart from its excellent effect against the neural tube defect - can also Helps prevent other malformations in the embryo.