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Panicking - folic acid & spina bifida risk

(15 Posts)
LondonYogaSuz Fri 14-Oct-16 21:08:27

I've been really diligent taking the pregnacare with folic acid, in the run up to conception (IVF) and through pregnancy.

Am 13 weeks today and now know my mum had a tfmr as the baby would have had multiple severe issues including downs and spina bifida (just knew about the downs).

I've had NHS tests and Harmony which both came out low risk for downs plus 12+4 scan looked good but now I'm panicking that spina bifida isn't usually identified until the 20 week scan and that maybe I should have been on the higher dose of folic acid rather than just pregnacare and now it's too late as I'm just past the first trimester....

Will call the midwife on Monday but grateful for any advice.

panad317 Fri 14-Oct-16 21:13:42

I think you only need a higher dose of folic acid if you have a very high BMI?

Northernlurker Fri 14-Oct-16 21:14:00

You don't need to panic. You've taken measures to ensure your store of folate is adequate. Nobody can tell you the baby will be 100% ok but you're chance of a baby with spina bifida was small anyway, even with that history, and you've reduced it further by the sensible action you've taken. Congratulations on your good scan and test results.

LondonYogaSuz Fri 14-Oct-16 21:35:34

Thanks both flowers
BMI was 27 so under the 30 threshold.
I think I'm just worried generally, especially from an IVF pregnancy we didn't think would work. Was so relieved at the Harmony results but then mum mentioned folic/spina bifida and I made the mistake of looking up Dr Google....

user1463652193 Fri 14-Oct-16 21:37:34

My brother died of anencephaly (similar to spina bifida but affects the top of the spine rather than the bottom) before I was born (my mum only found out he had it a week before he was due, but that was over 35 years ago). I told the midwife at my booking appointment and wasn't put on any higher dose of folic acid, so I think you should be ok. I took folic acid when we started ttc and throughout and our baby looks totally healthy (now 34 weeks). I hope that helps. Wishing you all the best for a healthy baby

Northernlurker Fri 14-Oct-16 22:37:01

Your mum probably feels anxious too because of how precious this pregnancy is. All pregnancies are precious of course but ivf is such a long hard road. You're not your mum though, this pregnancy is different and everything looks fine. Hang on to the positive thoughts.

PeachBellini123 Sat 15-Oct-16 21:40:31

Please don't google it will make your panic worse. You're still low risk. Talk to your mid wife if you need to but try to relax.

Blimeygirl Sat 15-Oct-16 21:49:09

Not exactly the same but the only reason I was put on higher dosage folic acid was because of my history with taking my anti seizure drugs. Had they just taken family history into account with quite a few tfmr I would have been on standard dosage.

LondonYogaSuz Sat 15-Oct-16 23:03:26

Thanks so much everyone, Today I've focussed on the fact I had been taking folic acid for ages and even before conception plus that the 12 weeks scan was all positive so far.

Getting myself worried will not help anything so thanks for helping me see sense through the anxiety-fog!

gunting Sat 15-Oct-16 23:13:24

I do know how you feel. I had an unexpected pregnancy so didn't start taking folic acid until 10 weeks, plus a high bmi.

I got so worked up about spina bifida that at my 20 week scan, the sonographer mentioned the spine and I had a full blown panic attack and had to get off the bed and cry. Anyway there was nothing wrong with my DS, it was just anxiety and I really wish I had done something about it sooner in the pregnancy as I really didn't enjoy it.

I think speak to the midwife about your anxiety and get it sorted out. Best of luck to you with your little one. smile

sycamore54321 Sun 16-Oct-16 01:16:15

Do you know whether your mother had taken folic acid before and during that pregnancy? Assuming it was give or take 30 years ago, I suspect that it was likely that she was not taking it as the understanding and advice around folic acid is relatively recent. Remember also, your mother had at least one other pregnancy that resulted in a baby with a healthy spine so it does not suggest that she has some sort of inability to absorb folic acid, which I presume you are worried she might have passed to you.

And remember it isn't quite as simple as correct folic acid = 100% guarantee of no spinal issues, and vice versa. In the vast majority of cases, yes folic acid has a wonderful protective effect but biology remains a messy thing and you have done and are doing absolutely the right thing by following the best possible medical advice on the basis of your situation.

Either way, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it now. You are right to speak to your midwife about any concerns but I would not expect she can give you much concrete guidance.

Best wishes for your pregnancy.

LondonYogaSuz Sun 16-Oct-16 06:31:17

Thanks Sycamore, you're right, this would have been about 34yrs ago and I don't think the same level of advice to take folic acid was around then. Mum did go on to conceive my brother after the tfmr, who is fine, but likely was advised then to take folic acid with that pregnancy.

She'd regularly said when me or brother's partner get pregnant we must take folic acid, which I did at normal dose, but thought it was just good advice, hadn't realised about the spina bifida or possible higher dose.

haveacupoftea Sun 16-Oct-16 10:01:44

You don't need a higher dose, you just need the recommended dose. That was all your mum needed too but unfortunately she just didn't know. Stop worrying! flowers

AppleJac Sun 16-Oct-16 10:11:14

What is a high dose of folic acid? I ve been taking seven seas 400mg of folic acid with b12 in for 10 months (im 12 weeks preg) and i have a bmi of 32.

According to google the high dose is 5mg?

LondonYogaSuz Sun 16-Oct-16 14:35:32

Hi Apple, my understanding and from my pack - pregnacare has 400 mcg (microgram), not 400 mg, the 400mcg is still about 200% daily recommended intake - but yes I've seen mention of the higher prescription-only dose being 5mg

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