Navigation Links
Immigrant women may be at higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect

TORONTO, Ont., April 16 2009 Immigrant women are less likely to use folic acid supplements before pregnancy to prevent spina bifida, particularly those who recently immigrated to the country, according to a new study led by a St. Michael's Hospital physician in collaboration with Statistics Canada, Health Canada and the University of Toronto. The study is the first to provide national estimates of pre-pregnancy folic acid use in Canada.

"Our study's findings report that while about six in 10 Canadian-born mothers take folic-acid supplements in the three-month period before conception, mothers from non-western countries China, Northern African, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Latin American or South Pacific countries are less likely to use the supplements," St. Michael's Hospital's Dr. Joel Ray said. "This information is important for policy makers and health practitioners as we aim to better educate new mothers and prevent neural tube defects in their babies."

Neural tube defects are birth defects of the spinal cord and brain, otherwise known as spina bifida and anencephaly. Research has shown the risk of neural tube defects can be reduced by nearly 50 per cent with folic acid supplements taken just before and soon after conception, or through consumption of food fortified with folic acid. However, an estimated six to 12 in every 10,000 fetuses in Canada still develop neural tube defects.

The study, an analysis of 6,349 new mothers aged 18 to 45 years, examined the relationship between folic acid supplement use in the three months before conception and the mother's maternal country of birth and years of residence in Canada.

Sixty one per cent of Canadian-born women in the study reported using folic acid supplements in the three month period before conception. However, these rates were much lower among women born in the Caribbean or Latin America (41%), Sub-Sahara Africa (44%), Northern Africa or the Middle East (31%), or South Asia (46%). What's more, only 39% of foreign-born women living in Canada less than four years reported using supplements compared to 64% of foreign-born women living in Canada at least 17 years.

"The disparity in pre-conceptual folic acid supplement use may be due to unplanned/unintended pregnancies or lack of awareness of the benefits of folic acid supplements," Ray said. "Immigrant women, especially those from non-Western countries, are least likely to have this information, which can otherwise be easily provided to these women through various communication mediums."

The study's authors suggest immigrant women be provided with a language-specific pamphlet on the benefits of folic acid, or even with free supplements.


Contact: Julie Saccone
St. Michael's Hospital

Related biology news :

1. Study shows immigrant children are at increased risk of lead poisoning
2. Study reveals that immigrant teenagers eat better than Spanish teenagers
3. Vitamin D deficiency related to increased inflammation in healthy women
4. NIH funds research center for womens reproductive health at Einstein
5. Exposure to insecticide may play role in obesity epidemic among some women
6. Why do women store fat differently from men?
7. Hispanic women and breast cancer: An understudied group
8. Researchers may have found why women have an edge on salt-sensitive hypertension
9. Protein that regulates hormones critical to womens health found in pituitary
10. Springer author and advisory board member wins LOreal UNESCO Women in Science Award
11. Research finds older women who are more physically fit have better cognitive function
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/27/2015)... NEW YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 ... the major issues of concern for various industry verticals ... This is due to the growing demand for secure ... practices in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank ... concerns for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ... solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus ... --> --> ... to provide strategic collaboration in the joint development of ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... PALO ALTO, Calif. and LAS ... – Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in ... FIDO Alliance , today announced the launch of its ... the first unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based ... authentication. The Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, ... their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other ... stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 --> ... "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product & Services (Primer, Probe, ... DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical & Biotech, Diagnostic Labs) ... market is expected to reach USD 1,918.6 Million by ... CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) ... on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the ... Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an amendment to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: