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Causes and Prevention of Spina Bifida

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CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF SPINA BIFIDA

We do not know all of the causes of spina bifida. The role that genetics and the environment play in causing spina bifida needs to be studied further.

However, we do know that there are ways for women to reduce the risk of having a baby with spina bifida both before and during her pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or could get pregnant, use the following tips to help prevent your baby from having spina bifida:

-Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. If you have already had a pregnancy affected by spina bifida, you may need to take a higher dose of folic acid before pregnancy and during early pregnancy. Talk to your doctor to discuss what’s best for you.
-Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements you are taking.
-If you have a medical condition―such as diabetes or obesity―be sure it is under control before you become pregnant.
-Avoid overheating your body, as might happen if you use a hot tub or sauna.
-Treat any fever you have right away with acetaminophen.

Content source:  National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention