Childbearing: "6 out of 10 women take folic acid too late."
Maria Walliser - President of the Swiss Folic Acid Foundation and former ski racer
It's amazing: although 70% of the population is familiar with the topic of folic acid, according to the latest studies, 6 out of 10 women still take folic acid too late. And that folic acid is vital for the healthy growth of a baby is a fact that has been known for many years.
is a fact that has been proven for many years. Folic acid is needed for cell division, especially during rapid growth, i.e. in early pregnancy. But why this momentous misconduct in the use of folic acid prophylaxis?
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) mentions the following in an information brochure: The preparations to give new life a good start begin even before pregnancy with a measure to prevent an 'open back' or a cleft lip and palate. This is precisely where folic acid plays an important role: if the woman's body is not sufficiently supplied with folic acid, crucial processes in the embryonic phase, i.e. at the very beginning of child development, cannot run optimally. This can lead to an 'open back', associated with a lifelong disability of the child.
"A healthy and varied diet forms a good basis for the development of your child. However, the amount of folic acid necessary to prevent this malformation is usually not achieved with it. Therefore, all women who would like to or could become pregnant are recommended to take 400-800 micrograms of folic acid daily as a tablet or capsule, preferably in the form of a multivitamin, in addition to their diet. And preferably 4 weeks before conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy."
A recommendation could not be clearer, yet each year some 75-80 young parent couples go through the severe stress associated with having an "open back." About a quarter of the parents confronted with this fact wish to give birth to the child, so that every year in Switzerland about 15-20 children with "open back" and about 150 children with cleft lip/jaw/palate see the light of day. Children with an "open back" are paralyzed in the lower body for life and are dependent on close care in a wheelchair.
The reasons why only 4 out of 10 women take folic acid at the right time are numerous. On the one hand, our message does not yet reach all women who want to have children. On the other hand, today it takes longer and longer from the wish to have a child to conception, because the average age of mothers has moved upwards. And, of course, it is not easy to think about the issue of folic acid for years. When the doctor determines pregnancy, the woman is already in the 4th or 5th week of pregnancy, while the closure of the neural tube is already completed between the 24th and 27th day. For this reason, the Swiss Folic Acid Foundation was launched in January 2000 with the aim of informing the population about the vital importance of folic acid (www.stiftung-folsäure.ch or firstname.lastname@example.org). You can order the "Folic Acid Magazine" free of charge from the Foundation, and the brochures "Nutrition around Pregnancy and Lactation" and "Folic Acid is Indispensable", which can be obtained free of charge from the FOPH, are also recommended.