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Spina Bifida - Topic Overview

How can you prevent spina bifida?

Before and during pregnancy, a woman can help prevent spina bifida in her child.

  • Get plenty of folic acid each day, both before you get pregnant and during pregnancy. All foods made from grains and sold in the United States have folic acid added. Foods rich in folic acid include fortified breakfast cereals and breads, spinach, and oranges. Your doctor may recommend that you also take a daily vitamin with folic acid or a folic acid supplement.
  • If you take medicine for seizures or acne, talk with your doctor before you get pregnant. Some of these medicines can cause birth defects.
  • Don't drink alcohol while you are pregnant. Any amount of alcohol may affect your baby's health.
  • Don't let your body get too hot in the first weeks of pregnancy. For example, don't use a sauna or hot tub. And treat a high fever right away. The heat could raise your baby's risk for spina bifida.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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