The importance of Folic Acid

The charity Shine has called on all women to mark Folic Acid Awareness Day on May 1st by telling at least one other woman of childbearing age about the importance of taking folic acid.

Thumbs up for Folic! is part of Folic Acid Awareness Day which aims to reduce the 1 in 1,000 chance that an unborn baby will develop spina bifida or a related condition in the womb. Each week on average 14 women in the UK receive the devastating news that their baby is affected. Up to 72% of these cases could be reduced by getting the right amount of folic acid at the right time, and yet new studies show that only one third of women take the vitamin correctly.

Women are being asked to post either a ‘selfie’ or photograph of themselves, friends or family giving a ‘thumbs up’, onto any social media platform using the hashtag #fumbsUp4Folic. The aim is to share the message in a positive way with as many people as possible . 

Folic Acid Awareness Day is part of an on-going campaign by Shine to promote timely access to folic acid, thus reducing the incidence of serious disability and distress to expectant parents. The Day will also feature giveaways in city centres, promotions in supermarkets and other retail outlets, and colleges, with hands on support from Shine members, local MPs, council leaders, midwives, and pharmacists.   

Campaign Co-ordinator Martine Austin said: ‘We urge women to take notice of this important message. We have evidence that women will listen to other women, especially those who are willing to share their experience of having a baby with an neural tube defect (NTD). We know that through social media, our lively accessible on-line information, and targeted messages that women will change their behaviour but we need all women to help each other in this. Basically, make sure your friends, relatives, employees, and colleagues know that they should be taking a folic acid or B9 vitamin pill each day if there is any chance that they might conceive.’

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