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Folic Acid Awareness Day PDF Print Email

Today is Folic Acid Awareness Day, it is the third year the national spina bifida charity, Shine has held the event.

The annual event is part of an ongoing campaign by the charity to promote folic acid as a way to help improve health in pregnancy.  The day will feature giveaways and promotions throughout the country, with support from Shine members, local MPs, council leaders, midwives, pharmacists.


There is still a 1 in 1,000 chance of an unborn baby developing spina bifida or anencephaly meaning every week 14 couples in the UK receive the devastating news that their baby is affected. However, up to 72% of these cases could be reduced by taking the right amount of folic acid at the right time.


Martine Austin, Head of Prevention at Shine said, ‘It’s vital that folic acid is taken BEFORE conception to reduce the risk of these severe conditions. The neural tube, which goes on to form the brain and spine forms in the first 28 days, before many women are even aware that they’re pregnant. So, starting to take it once you’re already pregnant is too late.’


Despite the great success of the Go Folic! campaign and Folic Acid Awareness Day, Martine warns that there is still much more work that needs to be done to ensure that all women are aware of this important information.


Martine continues, ‘Although we’re actively raising awareness throughout the year, it’s amazing to have this annual day when women can really come together as a community to share this important message with one another. We know that women will change their behaviour if they’re made aware of the information in time, in a way in which they can relate to, but we need all women to help one another in this. That’s what’s so special about today!’


For more information on the importance of folic acid in pregnancy you can contact shine or visit your local pharmacy.