Why does Spina Bifida happen?
At present the cause is unknown and research continues. However, we do know that taking folic acid supplements can reduce the risk of spina bifida in unborn babies.
For families with no history of spina bifida the Dept. of Health recommends women take an 'over the counter' dose of 400mcg daily. For families where there is a history of spina bifida, a prescription dose (5mg) of folic acid is needed.
Folic acid should be taken daily for at least 12 weeks prior to conception and through to the 12th week of pregnancy. Even with fortification of flour products with folic acid, a supplementary tablet is needed.The exact reasons why the neural tube develops incorrectly are not yet known but it is probably connected with both genetic and environmental factors.