SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — A new report out by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is showing the most common neural tube birth defect in Utah babies is Spina Bifida.
And in an effort to help educate women on the importance of taking multivitamins, especially folic acid, UDOH is giving away free multivitamins to 500 non-pregnant women aged 18-44 living in Utah during January.
Neural tube birth defects impact the brain, spine, and spinal cord in early pregnancy.
UDOH's data shows that most women have heard of folic acid and know about its importance during pregnancy, only 385 of Utah women between 18-44 take a vitamin with folic acid daily.
“Neural tube defects often occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant. That’s why it’s important for women of child bearing age to take a vitamin with 400mcg of folic acid once a day to prevent neural tube defects,” Maria Huynh, epidemiologist with the UDOH Utah Birth Defect Network said. “Folic acid is a B9 vitamin that helps with growth and development. Folate, naturally found in leafy greens, has been mentioned as an alternative for folic acid; however, it’s difficult for women to get the daily amount of folate through food alone.”
Here are some of the findings from UDOH's new report:
Women at highest risk for having an infant born with a neural tube defect included:
As part of National Birth Defect Prevention Month, women are encouraged todo the following five things to "increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy and lessen the chance of their baby being born with a birth defect:"