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Saturday, 17 November, 2001, 00:19 GMT
'Why I back folic acid calls'
Folic acid is available in supplements
Folic acid is available in supplements
A charity is renewing its calls for folic acid to be added to flour, to prevent pregnancies from being affected by spina bifida.

Sonya Moyes' daughter Sophie was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

Doctors advised her to start taking folic acid, and her second daughter Natasha was born healthy.

She tells BBC News Online why she thinks folic acid should be added to flour.


Sophie Moyes will celebrate her tenth birthday on Sunday by having a karaoke party with her friends.

But when she was born, her parents were warned she might not survive at all.

Sophie was born with spina bifida, a fault in the development of the spine, and hydrocephalus, excess fluid on the brain.


The worst time in my life was when I was pregnant for the second time, waiting for the 16-week test

Sonya Moyes
Sonya said doctors suggested something could be wrong at 16 weeks into the pregnancy.

She decided not to have the amniocentesis test they recommended.

"We only found out when she was born.

"She was taken away and they asked if we wanted to call a priest."

Sonia recalls a doctor at the time asking her: "If you knew she was going to be like that, why did you have her?"

But Mrs Moyes said she never felt like that.

Operations

Sophie immediately had an operation to repair a hole on her back caused by the spina bifida.

She also had a shunt implanted to remove the pressure of fluid on her brain.

Sophie is fully incontinent and has to be catheterised every four hours.

She needs a pair of special shoes to help her walk, and is facing a third major operation to straighten and strengthen her leg.

Her mother says: "After Sophie was born, I was advised by doctors to take folic acid pills. They said because of my circumstances I had to take it.

"I wish I'd been told that beforehand.

"The worst time in my life was when I was pregnant for the second time, waiting for the 16-week test."

But Natasha, now eight, was born healthy.

Now Mrs Moyes says everyone should be taking folic acid.

Last year, a government scientific committee recommended that folic acid should be added to all flour to prevent the birth of many handicapped babies.

See also:

17 Nov 01 | Health
Spina bifida cases 'unnecessary'
13 Jan 00 | Health
'Put folic acid in bread'
26 Jul 01 | Health
Folic acid 'doubles twin chance'
22 Jan 99 | Health
Folic acid does not mean twins
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