Spina bifida—We need to be aware

Dated : 22 February 2019

Author : Fareeha Jay

We Need to be Aware!

Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida…. when I take this name many of you won’t even know what it is, though it is one of the most common birth defects in Pakistan.

I personally believe that very little is being done about this condition, from prevention to treatment. Its surely an ignored condition as I couldn’t even find the accurate numbers of people affected by this condition in the country. Some sources mention that there are around 400,000 patients with spina bifida in Pakistan.  It’s high time we get ourselves aware about this condition as it can be prevented to a certain extent.

Before I discuss on prevention Ill briefly explain about Spina Bifida in a very non-medical way.

Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect. A neural tube is a structure which eventually develops in to baby’s brain and spinal cord. If it doesn’t develop properly the baby gets the condition. This neural tube starts to form in the early pregnancy and closes 4 weeks after conception. There are different types of spina bifida and it can lead to:

  • weakness or total paralyses of the legs
  • bowel and urinary incontinence
  • loss of sensation in legs
  • some children can also have learning difficulties.

The cause of Spina Bifida is unknown though there are certain factors which can increase the risk of a baby developing this condition.

  • Low folic acid during pregnancy
  • Family history of spina bifida


 All women during pregnancy should have 400 microgram folic acid tablets until 12 weeks of pregnancy. What is more important to know is that they should start having these supplements when they are trying to conceive and are planning for a baby.

Women who had a previous pregnancy affected by neural tube defect are at higher risk of having their other child with the same condition therefore they need to have a higher dose of folic acid which would be 5 milligram and `I strongly advise you to discuss this with your doctor.

Alongside the supplements women should also try to eat foods that are high in folate such as green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, peas beans, chickpeas, oranges and whole grain foods.

Having folic acid supplementation can help reduce the incidence of spina bifida up to 70%, therefore awareness is the key factor. But more so we all need to play a part in creating this awareness. I’m sure those of you are reading this article have access to good doctors and gynaecologists and would be having these supplements any way but what we need to do now is make the larger population aware about it.

With more than 60 million Pakistanis below the poverty line surely, they don’t have awareness nor access to these supplements.

What can you do?

Majority of us have maids at home. We have women coming to clean our house, women for washing clothes, doing dishes etc,

Make them aware!

Tell them about it!

And if you think they are of child bearing age, planning to have a baby or pregnant just get them a bottle of folic acid supplement. I checked online and found that 250 tables (400 mcg) are for Rs 825. You’ll agree with me that this Rs 825 will be worth the spend.

If you don’t have any maids at home, you can always help women at your work place, women in children’s school, or any one you know.

Let’s do this together! I’ve played my part by writing this article and sharing it with you. You play your part!

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28 replies
  1. Asma khurram
    Asma khurram says:

    Assalamualaikum fareeha my weight is 74 kg my age is 32 n height is 5.3 I have also a fat belly problem plz help me in loosing my weight. I have also pain in my body and knees specially in hip bone after delivered 3 children’s by c section please help me in loosing weight I respect n honoured u alot fareeha. Thanks

  2. Umme Ahmed
    Umme Ahmed says:

    Very good information Fareeha, really very appreciable 👍🏻 we prefer prescribing folic acid to girls of child bearing age (i.e after their menarche) as poverty & lack of knowledge are the main reasons behind their deficiencies!!

  3. Sana qandeel
    Sana qandeel says:

    Aoa mam mjhe ap se pochna tha k mjhe periods ka buhat masla hai mjhe periods theek se nhi ate or jb se dieting shoro ki hai ab or masle ho gye hai phle phr bhi 2 din ate the is dafa seraf 1 din aye hai wo bhi theek se nhi jis ki waja se mera weight buhat zeada hota ja rha hai plz mjhe batain k mn kiya karon jis se mjhe periods theek ain…ALLAH ap ko hamesha khush rkhe ap Sab ki buhat help karti hai

  4. saima
    saima says:

    I m saima from Pakistan I m living nowadays in Afghanistan plz I need ur help.
    Now My weight is 81 i was 96 but I lost my 20 kg but I had fuructur at my leg then 3 months I couldn’t exercise I gain 6 kg now I m 81 kg I want to lose 20 kg plz help me there wil be my marriage in 2 months I want to lose my weight I asked everyone for help but no one replied I hope that u wil help me I wil be so grateful to yoy

  5. Anusha
    Anusha says:

    Salam maam mra weight 75 hai and height 5.2 hai age 27 hai please mjje weight kam.krna h mjhe iron anemia hai and hormones b proclactin 60 aya h and sugar and bp.low rhta hai bht please thora guide krn me diet or excrcise ziada nahi krskti

  6. anusha
    anusha says:

    Salam mam mera weight 75 hai and height 5.2 hai and age 27 hai mjhe iron anemia hai and hormone prolactin 60.aya hai or bp.or.sugar low rhti h bht me.diet ni kr pati na excrsise jldi thak.jti hu please budget.m.hu jae asi diet batain and.periods ka b bht pb hai late hujty h or heavy hoty hain

    • Fareeha Jay
      Fareeha Jay says:

      Depends what subscription you’ve done .platimum members have access to topical videos , recipes , motivational videos ,ask me questions , access to all question and answers videos
      Gold members have access to topical videos and recipes 🙂

  7. Sabir Ullah
    Sabir Ullah says:

    Dear fareeha sister, you are doing a fantastic job for great purpose and reason, my Allah reward you. I am a doctor and public health specialist, I can assure that spreading awareness, educating our people is very vital and plays an important role in preventing loads of health anomalies.
    May Allah reward you.
    Stay blessed
    Allah de khada ao abada lara khoor

Comments are closed.


I am Fareeha Jay, a registered Dietitian. I have a passion and desire to spread knowledge and awareness about healthy eating and lifestyle. The information I provide is based on scientific evidence but explained in a very non-scientific way. I want to break the myths around diet and food. I never want to give diet plans rather I want to empower people on their food and lifestyle choices, so that people can make their own diet plans for the rest of their lives.