Friday, May 22, 2009

All women of childbearing age should take vitamins!

Folic acid supplementation (AKA Vitamin B9, Folacin, Folate) does the most good when taken BEFORE you become pregnant. Most multivitamins contain this nutrient so the recommendation is for all women to take a daily vitamin - whether planning a pregnancy or not. This is because many pregnancies are not "planned." Tell your friends, sisters, nieces and daughters. The evidence continues to impress and several agencies have jumped on board for this important message.Folate-rich foods

Most recent news is that it may prevent preterm births...

"Folic acid helps the body make DNA and other genetic material. It's found in green leafy vegetables and in some kinds of meats as well. In addition, in the United States, folic acid is also found in many grains. Most commercially produced grains have been fortified with the vitamin since the 1990s. This helps guarantee that women get plenty of the vitamin while they're pregnant.

...Gynecologist Radic Bukowski found that women who took folic acid supplements for a year or longer before becoming pregnant had a significantly lower risk of having a preterm birth than the women who did not take a folic acid supplement regularly.

"The reduction was really huge," Bukowski says. "It was 70 percent lower risk of delivering between 20 and 28 weeks - this is the very premature babies, the ones who have most of the problems. And they're the ones who … likely not survive."

Bukowski also found that there was a 50 percent reduction of preterm birth between 28 and 32 weeks, also a very high risk group.

There was no change in the risk for delivering after 32 weeks.

Bukowski says this is another piece of data in a growing body of evidence showing that the health of a woman before she gets pregnant is important for her baby's health.

"It seems to me that many of the complications of pregnancy - having a small baby, for example, or delivering prematurely - the origins of these problems seems to be at least in part at the beginning of pregnancy or maybe even before," Bukowski says." (VoaNews - Health & Science)


May 12, 2009 — New observational evidence supports previous evidence from a randomized controlled trial that folic acid–containing supplements lower the risk for pregnancies affected by neural tube defects, according to a US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) statement and review of evidence reported in the May 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The review suggests that the previously noted association of folic acid use with twin gestation may be confounded by fertility interventions.

Based on the evidence, the USPSTF has issued a grade A recommendation that all women planning or capable of pregnancy take a daily supplement containing 0.4 to 0.8 mg (400 - 800 µg) of folic acid.

Regarding benefits of this preventive measure, the USPSTF found convincing evidence that taking supplements containing 0.4 to 0.8 mg (400 - 800 µg) of folic acid during the periconceptional period lowers the risk for neural tube defects. Regarding potential harms, adequate evidence suggests that folic acid from supplementation at usual doses is not associated with serious harms.

For women who are planning or are capable of pregnancy, the USPSTF therefore concludes that there is high certainty that the net benefit of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy is substantial.

Tracy Wolff, MD, MPH, and colleagues from the USPSTF write, "Neural tube defects (NTDs) are among the most common birth defects in the United States,...In 1996, the...USPSTF recommended that all women planning a pregnancy or capable of conception take a supplement containing folic acid to reduce the risk for NTDs."

...In 2003, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended periconceptual use of a multivitamin supplement containing 0.4 mg of folic acid for most women of childbearing potential.

The American Academy of Family Physicians strongly recommends prescribing folic acid supplementation of 0.4 to 0.8 mg/day for women planning to become pregnant and without a history of neural tube defects, and 0.4 mg/day of folate supplementation to women of childbearing age who are not planning pregnancy.

"The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, AAFP [American Academy of Family Physicians], and most other organizations recommend 4 mg/d for women with a history of neural tube defects," the statement authors conclude.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses the U.S. Public Health Service recommendation that all women capable of becoming pregnant consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily to prevent neural tube defects,' particularly for adolescent, ''sexually active women who do not plan to use effective contraception or abstain from sexual intercourse.' Because of teratogenesis and impaired folate metabolism associated with certain antiepileptic drugs, the American Academy of Neurology recommends folic acid supplementation of no less than 0.4 mg/d for women of childbearing age with epilepsy. (

Check out the March of Dimes and American Pregnancy articles about this too.
More info on prenatal vitamins here. A good article on where NOT to store your vitamins here. Best Blogger Tips

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