Surgeon and Neurosurgery resident at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Dr. Dickson Bandoh has advised women to increase their intake of folic acid when pregnant to prevent the incidence of Spina Bifida in their kids.
According to him, the spinal cord of the unborn child forms within a month of conception and if the mother has little or no amount of folic acid in her system, then the spine refuses to develop causing Spina Bifida and other underlying issues.
Dr. Dickson Bandoh, joined the Happy Morning Show’s Samuel Eshun via zoom to mark the World Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida Day.
“The food we eat must be rich in folic acid. Every pregnant woman needs folic acid for their kids to grow properly. If the folic acid in the pregnant woman is not enough, it will cause Spina Bifida”.
He furthered that the Spina Bifida condition is accompanied by Hydrocephalus.
Explaining the condition, he motioned that Spina Bifida is a birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop or close properly while in the womb.
Symptoms of the condition can sometimes be seen on the skin above the spinal defect. They include an abnormal tuft of hair, a birthmark or protruding spinal cord tissue.
The specialist noted that the failure of the spinal cord to develop leads to Hydrocephalus. He explained that because the spinal cord cannot carry cerebrospinal fluid to and fro the brain, it causes a build-up of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain.
“The extra fluid puts pressure on the brain and can cause brain damage. It’s most common in infants and older adults. Hydrocephalus is characterized by head enlargement in infants. Adults and older children experience headache, impaired vision, cognitive difficulties, loss of coordination and incontinence”.
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is normally found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Women of reproductive age are urged to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day, in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet, to help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).
Women are however advised to talk to their doctors about taking folic acid during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. Folic acid is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat pernicious anaemia.
By: Joel Sanco