January 7, 2019


We wish it were no longer necessary to repeat the phrase, “Take folic acid before becoming pregnant,” but regrettably, this knowledge and practice should continue to be widely promoted.  Folic acid is key in reducing the risk of children born with neural tube defects or hydrocephalus.

Globally, more than 40% of pregnancies are unplanned, which means that all women who could become pregnant need their vitamin B9 / folic acid supplement.  

Our hats go off to IF (the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) who is taking the lead in supporting the World Folic Acid Awareness Week #WFAAW, January 6-12, 2020, as part of the IF Global Prevention Initiative. 

IF has developed a toolkit to share vital information and reduce the worldwide risk of neural tube defects and hydrocephalus.  We have updated our resource inventory’s parental information page with links to IF’s online toolkit (scroll down on the linked page).  This toolkit includes a new downloadable leaflet on folic acid entitled, “What every woman needs to know before becoming pregnant.”

For more information on folic acid and its important role in reducing birth defects, see our resource inventory’s public health tools page.  And, for more information about mainstreaming birth defects surveillance into your surveillance research efforts, explore our comprehensive resource inventory