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Sexually Active Teens Miss Chance to Prevent Spina Bifida

Vital Information:

  • If they do not get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day before and during their pregnancy, women face higher risks of having a baby with neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Experts recommend that women who are sexually active during their childbearing years take enough folic acid every day, in case they become pregnant.
  • In a recent report, researchers say not enough young women are getting this message. After surveying about 200 teen-age clients of reproductive clinics in Houston, they found only 12% of the respondents took a daily multivitamin with the recommended amount of folic acid. And few regularly ate folate-rich foods such as spinach and fortified cereals.
  • The ability to buy these types of foods and supplements may contribute to how many women consume enough folic acid.


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