Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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Press Release

New film explains the importance of folic acid to any woman who can have a baby

A new film entitled ‘I am a …’ has been released by the national charity Shine as part of their campaign Go Folic! which aims to communicate the message that taking folic acid is essential in preventing birth defects such as spina bifida.

IamVideo

 Stars of the 1 minute film are Anna Hodges and her 7 year-old son Thomas. In the film Anna highlights the various and demanding roles the mother of a disabled child fulfils and shows that Thomas, in spite of his spina bifida and hydrocephalus, is living a very full life.

However, taking folic acid well before pregnancy begins can significantly reduce the chances of babies having spina bifida – many babies like Thomas would have been born without spina bifida and the additional challenges life will bring him if their mothers had been aware of the correct way to take folic acid (also known as vitamin B9).

With this is mind, despite being a ‘very proud Mum’, in the film Anna urges all women who could become pregnant to make sure they are taking folic acid correctly, and thus reduce their chances of having a baby with spina bifida an/or hydrocephalus.

"Although many women would make an association between folic acid and pregnancy, the majority are unaware that it needs to be present at conception, ideally being taken three months before a baby starts to develop," explains Shine’s Chief Executive, Jackie Bland.

"The ‘I am a…’ film communicates this message clearly and effectively from a mother’s point of view and we hope it will be widely circulated and used by anyone concerned to prevent these disabilities occurring. By ensuring that folic acid is taken correctly by more women we really can save and change lives."

For more information on the Go Folic! campaign see: www.gofolic.co.uk

Press contact: Martine Austin, Health Campaigns Officer on T. 01733 421349 or E. martine.austin@shinecharity.org.uk

Ends

Notes to editors

1. The ‘I am a’ film has been produced by Shine as part of its mission to prevent spina bifida and hydrocephalus occurring. For more on Shine, spina bifida and hydrocephalus visit www.shinecharity.org.uk

2. Both these disabilities can result in termination of pregnancy at a late stage resulting in extreme trauma for parents; or babies born facing a lifetime of disability. Severe cases are incompatible with life.

3. Women are recommended to take a daily tablet containing 400mcg of folic acid before they conceive and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Ideally women should be taking folic acid tablets at least three months before conception and if there is a risk of accidental pregnancy then it makes sense to be taking a daily 400mcg supplement as a matter of routine.

4. There are also some women who have an increased risk of having a baby with a Neural Tube Defect (NTD) and they need more folic acid. To find out more about high risk groups and dosage go to www.gofolic.co.uk

5. Folic acid is readily available from chemists, supermarkets and health stores, and some women can get free folic acid on prescription. Many multivitamin formulas also contain 400mcg of folic acid.


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