Causes of neural tube defects in children
The article was professionally consulted by Dr. Nguyen Anh Tu - Doctor of Obstetric Ultrasound - Prenatal Diagnosis - Obstetrics Department - Vinmec Hai Phong International General Hospital.
The neural tube is the core foundation for the development of the complete nervous system in the baby in the early stages of pregnancy. The neural tube develops very early, from the 3rd week of pregnancy and closes until the 28th day of pregnancy, it will completely stretch to form the spine and brain for the fetus. A neural tube defect is a condition in which the neural tube does not close completely.
1. What causes neural tube defects in children?
It can be affirmed that one of the main causes of neural tube defects is due to the nutrition of pregnant women, the fetus is not provided with enough folic acid, vitamin B12. Folic acid is the key factor for the complete closure of the neural tube. When there is not enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, the fetus, neural tube are not closed and cause malformations with manifestations such as cleft lip, cleft palate, purple malformation, paralysis of the limbs, brain hydrocephalus, spina bifida, neural tube defects, most seriously causing fetal and neonatal death.
2. How to limit the risk of neural tube defects in children?
Science has proven that when the mother's body is deficient in folic acid at the time of conception, it increases the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Thus, adequate folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of neural tube defects by 50-70% in the fetus. In particular, pregnant women who know how to fully supplement folic acid right from the time they plan to become pregnant reduce the risk of neural tube defects by 93%. In addition, vitamin B12 supplementation is metabolically related to folate and previous studies have shown vitamin B12 deficiency in mothers of infants with neural tube defects. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, eggs, milk and dairy products. Vitamin B12 levels of women whose fetuses had neural tube defects were significantly lower than those of women with normal fetuses.
Women with vitamin B12 levels lower than 250 ng/L were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect (after adjusting for risk for folate deficiency).
Women of childbearing age can minimize the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect by making sure they get enough vitamin B12 and folic acid before and during pregnancy.
Using folic acid and vitamin B12 tablets is an effective way to supplement these two substances before pregnancy to minimize the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Specifically, 1 month before pregnancy and in the first 3 months of pregnancy, pregnant women need to use these pills regularly as prescribed by the doctor. Especially for unlucky pregnant women who have had a pregnancy with neural tube defects, it is necessary to use high doses of folic acid before pregnancy as prescribed by the doctor to reduce the risk of repeat.
Supplementing folic acid and vitamin B12 through the diet is also a way not to be missed. At the same time, increase foods such as broccoli, broccoli, legumes, fruits, poultry... Just by doing such simple ways, pregnant women can completely reduce worry about birth defects in the fetus, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and normal development.
Vinmec International General Hospital offers a Package Maternity Care Program for pregnant women right from the first months of pregnancy with a full range of antenatal care visits, periodical 3D and 4D ultrasounds and routine tests to ensure that the mother is healthy and the fetus is developing comprehensively.
In addition to regular check-ups, pregnant women will also be advised on nutrition and exercise so that the mother can gain weight reasonably while the fetus still absorbs nutrients well.
Doctor Nguyen Anh Tu has 6 years of experience in obstetrics and gynecology ultrasound, specially researched and trained in pregnancy ultrasound - prenatal diagnosis. Dr. Tu has completed courses on ultrasound - prenatal diagnosis of the FMF International Fetal Medicine Association; trained in consulting and implementing diagnostic intervention techniques in fetal medicine and participated in many specialized conferences and seminars on Fetal Medicine. Currently, he is a doctor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vinmec Hai Phong International General Hospital.