Go Folic! Before You Frolic (Cymru)
A major campaign, which urges all sexually active women who might become pregnant to take the correct dose of folic acid everyday, will be launched in Wales this week.
On Tuesday 29th November Go Folic! will be launched by Spina bifida • Hydrocephalus • Information • Networking • Equality – SHINE Cymru at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, with the aim of engaging women throughout Wales with this important message.
Go Folic! aims to improve womens’ folic acid intake and so reduce the incidence of Neural Tube Defects such as spina bifida, which occur in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Every day in the UK, an average of two babies conceived – 900 each year - will go on to develop a Neural Tube Defect (NTD).
Up to 72% of these defects could be prevented if women took folic acid tablets at the right time and dosage.
However, at present, only 5.5% per cent of women take folic acid correctly and the incidence of Neural Tube Defects remains stubbornly high, often with tragic consequences.
NTD's happen within the first 28 days of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. It is therefore essential that women take the correct dose of folic acid daily – ideally for three months - before they become pregnant.
The Go Folic! campaign aims to inform and motivate women to act on this information and impress upon them that a healthy balanced diet is not enough to achieve the required levels of folic acid in their bodies to help prevent NTDs developing in their unborn babies. Women need to take 400mcg of folic acid daily prior to conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Some women may need a higher dose, particularly if there is a family history of spina bifida or if the mother has diabetes or coeliac disease or if she takes anti-epileptic medicines.
Shine Cymru Director Kate Thomas has called on everyone who can influence women on this critical issue to get behind the campaign and help reduce the often tragic consequences of NTDs.
"NTDs are a serious health threat which can lead to enormous challenges and painful decisions.
"The most serious form, anencephaly, means that the baby will not live beyond birth, and many babies born with spina bifida face a life with serious, multiple disabilities.
"We can drastically reduce the incidence of NTDs if we can get women to take folic acid correctly. We need a concerted effort from everyone across Wales - not just health professionals - to get this message across to women: If you are sexually active and might become pregnant, take a folic acid tablet everyday; it's simple to Go Folic!"
Notes to editors:
* Go Folic! Will be launched from at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 29th November from 6pm-7.45pm
* NTDs include spina bifida (when the spinal cord does not fully close), which can lead to lifelong disabilities.
* Other NTDs, such as anencephaly (absence of part of the brain) are incompatible with life.
* For more information, please visit www.gofolic.co.uk To arrange interviews/features on any aspect of NTDs and the Go Folic! Campaign please contact: Tom Scott, Marketing and Communications Officer on 01733 421361 / 07769 217050 / firstname.lastname@example.org