How much do you know about preventing birth defects? (Quiz)

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In the U.S., about 1 out of every 3 babies is born with some type of birth defect.  Many of them could have been prevented.  So how much do you know about preventing birth defects?  We figured that we would follow up yesterday’s re-blog of the Go Folic! UK’s post about Vitamin B-12 with this short quiz (it will open in a new window, everyone passes).

Go to CDC Birth Defects Quiz (will open in a new window)

Once you’re finished, please share this information with friends and family members, especially those who are trying to become pregnant or could get pregnant.


This is important news for any woman who might become pregnant and it makes sense, since our bodies require B-12 to process folic acid. And it’s one more reason to Go Folic! with a multi-vitamin. The study that this recommendation is based on recommends that women supplement with at least 2.5 mcg of B-12 everyday. Go Folic! Multis, which San Francisco women can get for free from the health department contain 6 mcg. If you don’t live in San Francisco, any multivitamin with 100% of the RDA will have this amount.

Clinician’s Corner – Should You Use the New Birth Control Pill?


Should You Use the New Birth Control Pill?

Have you heard about Beyaz?
This is a newly approved birth control pill that is basically like the Yasmin (Yaz) pills. The only difference between them is that the Beyaz birth control pill has a form of folic acid in it. This means that for as long as a woman takes Beyaz correctly, she is getting over 400 mcg of this very important B vitamin every day. For more information about Beyaz, go to http://www.beyaz.com/.

What should you remember about folate and folic acid?
• Folate is a type of B vitamin found naturally in many foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that you get when you take a vitamin supplement.
• Many teenagers and adult women don’t get enough of this vitamin which is very important for their health.
• Ideally, folic acid supplementation should be taken three months before you get pregnant and during the first 3 months of pregnancy or longer to help reduce the chances your baby will be born with problems of the spine and brain.
• If you take folic acid supplementation for a year or longer before pregnancy, it may help decrease the chances your baby will be born too early or perhaps with other serious health problems.
• The vitamin doesn’t last long in your body. If you become pregnant soon after you stop taking it, your health and the health of the pregnancy will not be getting the benefits of the vitamin. For more information about folic acid, go to http://www.gofolic.org/facts/index.html.

Why does Beyaz have folic acid in it?
Since so many women don’t get enough of the vitamin for their general health and don’t take a separate multivitamin every day, the folic acid in the pill may help women’s health in general. Also, some women get pregnant when they are on the pill, mainly because of not taking it correctly. If this were to happen, the pregnancy would also get the benefits of the vitamin.

What if you were to get pregnant while taking Beyaz?
You should stop the pill and begin taking a multivitamin with at least 600 mcg of folic acid. Sometimes, a woman’s doctor will advise her to take up to 1000 mcg of folic acid during her pregnancy. This depends on the woman’s health and if she had any problems with past pregnancies.

If you like the hormonal birth control method you are using now, should you change to Beyaz?
There is no reason to change your method if you feel good on the hormones you are taking. You may not feel as good on Beyaz. All women are different.

What is important is to continue to use your hormonal method correctly and take a multivitamin every day. You should also do this even if you are not using a hormonal method. You need folic acid and all the rest of the vitamins that are included in a multivitamin for your health. And if you should want a baby someday, remember, it is important to begin taking the vitamins before you become pregnant!

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Barbara Kass-Annese, RNCNP, MSN, is a clinician who has written extensively on the topic of vitamins and women’s health.  She also serves as a medical consultant to the Go Folic! Women’s Nutrition Project.