The neural tube, which develops the brain and spine, does not close properly during pregnancy, resulting in neural tube abnormalities. One or more risk factors can result in a neural tube defect. While not all causes of neural tube defects are understood, you can improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy by taking the following precautions.
5 ways to lower the risks of neural tube defects
1. Having a sufficient level of folate in your blood (blood folate concentration) is vital if you are pregnant to help prevent a neural tube defect in your growing kid.
- Vitamin B9 is also known as folate.
- The amount of folate that can be detected in your blood is called blood folate concentration.
- In addition to a diet rich in natural folate, you can enhance the quantity of folate in your blood by eating folic acid, which is one form of folate. It may take many months for your blood folate levels to rise to the level required to help prevent neural tube abnormalities. As a result, Mommunity recommends that all women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, in addition to other multivitamins.
- Folic acid is the only form of folate that has been proved to aid in the prevention of neural tube abnormalities, and it is a unique form of folate that does not exist naturally. Folic acid is found in vitamins, fortified foods such as rice, pasta, and bread, and some "enhanced" breakfast cereals.
- Because folic acid is more heat-stable than natural food folate, it is used to fortify foods. Natural dietary folate is quickly broken down by heat and light. Because many fortified items, such as bread, are baked, folic acid is more suited for food fortification.
- Getting the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate through diet is difficult for women of reproductive age.
- In addition to eating a balanced diet rich in natural food folate, you can acquire 400 mcg of folic acid each day by taking a folic acid-fortified vitamin, eating fortified foods, or a combination of the two.
- You don't need to take more than 400 micrograms of folic acid unless you've already had a pregnancy with a neural tube defect or your doctor has prescribed a higher dose.
- Neural tube problems impact some groups more than others for a variety of reasons. When compared to non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black mothers, Hispanic/Latina women are more likely to have a child born with a neural tube defect.
- Medical history of the family
- Genetic differences
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Pain relievers
- You can become overheated by having a fever or being exposed to high temperatures (like getting in a hot tub) that raise your core temperature, which raises your chances of having a kid with a neural tube defect.
- You may help protect your unborn child by avoiding illnesses, promptly treating fevers, and limiting environmental exposures that raise your core body temperature.
2. Take care of any pre-existing medical conditions you may have before and during your pregnancy.
If you have diabetes, make sure to maintain your blood sugar under control and plan your pregnancy with your healthcare professional. High blood sugar around the time of conception increases the likelihood of a neural tube abnormality, various forms of birth abnormalities, stillbirth, and premature birth for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
Obesity (defined as a BMI of 30 or above) before to conception can raise the risk of difficulties during pregnancy, including significant birth abnormalities. Even if you have no intention of becoming pregnant, staying healthy is beneficial and can improve your happiness. If you're overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about how to get to a healthy weight before trying to conceive.
3. Your baby's health may be influenced by your family's medical history.
To give your infant the greatest possible start, learn about both parents' medical histories. If either you or the baby's father has a family history of a birth defect, developmental disability, neonatal screening disorder, or genetic disease, your kid may be more susceptible to one of these conditions. It's crucial to know your baby's family health history so you can spot and address any potential health issues early on.
Variant of the Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene
A genetic test may have revealed that you have a hereditary variation of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). The MTHFR gene gives your body instructions on how to manufacture the MTHFR protein. The MTHFR protein aids in the absorption of folate by the body. Folate is required for the production of DNA, RNA, and proteins in your body.
You may have heard or read that if you have the MTHFR C677T gene variation, you should supplement with different types of folate (such as 5-Methyl THF), but this is not the case. The only type of folate that has been found to help prevent neural tube abnormalities is folic acid.
4. Certain drugs have been linked to a pregnancy with a neural tube abnormality. Before starting or quitting any medications before or during your pregnancy, see your doctor.
Some seizure drugs, such as valproic acid and carbamazepine, have been linked to an increased risk of a neural tube abnormality in a pregnancy.
Valproic acid is a seizure medicine used to treat epilepsy sufferers. It's also used to treat migraines and bipolar disorder.
Carbamazepine is a seizure control drug used to treat epilepsy. Bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, and other pain illnesses are all treated with it.
Spina bifida is the most prevalent neural tube defect linked to valproic acid and carbamazepine. Heart abnormalities and cleft lip are two more birth problems linked to the usage of these drugs during pregnancy.
Women who took non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid pain medicines during early pregnancy were more likely than women who took acetaminophen to have babies with specific birth abnormalities, including spina bifida, according to a 2017 CDC study.
The use of opioids during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of a neural tube abnormality in the baby.
Antimicrobials, specifically antibacterial medicines, are some of the most often used medications to treat infections during pregnancy for the mother and baby's health.
Sulfonamide antibiotics, which are a type of antibiotic, have been linked to neural tube abnormalities.
Before beginning or stopping any medicine, speak with your doctor.
5.Being overheated or having a fever can increase your chances of having a pregnancy with a neural tube abnormality.
The goal of Mommunity is to learn more about theetiology of neural tube abnormalities. Understanding the traits that are more common in newborns born with a neural tube defect may help us understand more about the causes and how to prevent these birth problems.
Published on: 13th October 2021