Posts Tagged ‘spinal cord’

Valproate sodium and related products linked to birth defects

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement about the increased risk of birth defects when a fetus is exposed to valproate sodium and related products (valproic acid and divalproex sodium).

The birth defects are neural tube defects, craniofacial defects, and cardiovascular problems. A neural tube defect is a defect of the brain and spinal cord. A craniofacial defect affects the face and the skull.

Valproate sodium and its related products may be used to treat migraine headaches, certain seizures and other conditions. If a woman is taking any of these products, she should talk to her health care provider, preferably before she gets pregnant. The risk of birth defects is especially high during the first trimester.

Folic acid awareness week and birth defects prevention month

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Today is the first day of National Folic Acid Awareness Week. Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord called neural tube defects (NTDs). Folic acid works to prevent these birth defects only if taken before conception and during early pregnancy.

Because NTDs originate in the first month of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant, it is important for a woman to have enough folic acid in her system before conception. Folic acid is recommended for all women of childbearing age because about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.

We have a helpful video on folic acid that is apart of our Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby video series. Click here to watch.

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network’s Education and Outreach Committee developed a 2009 Birth Defects Prevention Month Packet focusing on “Obesity Prevention and Weight Management – Before, During, and After Pregnancy”. The packet materials are available by clicking here.  These resources can be shared with colleagues, policy makers, families, and others during Birth Defects Prevention Month and throughout the year.