Prevention


"Prevention measures for the next generation should not be prejudiced about the value of the life of any person with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus." Pierre Mertens, IF Former President

NTD and Folic Acid

Although we do not know the exact causes of neural tube defects (NTDs) such as Spina Bifida, we do know that taking a daily supplement of B-vitamin Folic Acid significantly reduces the risks of having a baby with an NTD. IF recommends the intake of Folic Acid. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), women should take 0.4 mg per day two months before conception and during the first three months of their pregnancy to reduce the risk of a NTD affected pregnancy. But since not all pregnancies are planned, other methods of supplementing Folic Acid must also be deployed.
 
IF is committed to raising national and international awareness of the importance of Folic Acid as primary means of protection against NTDs. As a member of the Leaders Group of Food Fortification Initiative (FFI), IF is a strong advocate of the mandatory fortification of staple foods with at least Folic Acid.
 
For more information, visit our page: Can Spina Bifida be prevented? 
Check our page on the Neural Tube Defects Prevention and read the NTD reports
Check the One Life Stand campaign on NTD prevention 
 

Food Fortification

Primary prevention is most effectively achieved through the mandatory addition of Folic Acid to staple foods, so called mandatory food fortification with Folic Acid. 

Mandatory fortification would mean that Folic Acid would reach all women of childbearing age before they become pregnant, providing the most humane and efficient protection against neural tube defects for nearly all children.
Check our page on food fortification and read IF's policy statement. 
 
Learn more:
Preventing NTDs will also eliminate the associated cases of Hydrocephalus. However, there are other causes of Hydrocephalus, including brain haemorrhages, tumors, and meningitis. There are also genetic strains of Hydrocephalus. In developing countries, these causes could be related to, or exacerbated by poverty and lack of proper healthcare. Undernourished mothers run a higher risk of having premature babies, which, in turn, run a higher risk of having haemorrhaging. Meningitis in these countries is often the result of postnatal infections caused by poor delivery techniques or conditions. The inadequate treatment of these infections can result in Hydrocephalus. To be able to start preventative measures, IF has initiated and stimulated research into the causes of Hydrocephalus. 
 

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