A bpas spokesperson said,
“Pre-conception health is clearly key for both mother and baby, but it is also important that risk is communicated in a way that does not overstate what is known. Disease is complex, and poor health over a lifetime cannot simply be traced back to life in the womb. It is crucial that public health messages take into account the lived reality of women's lives and that not all pregnancies can be carefully planned and prepared for - no woman should ever feel she is subjecting her child to a lifetime of ill health due to 'suboptimal' behaviours before conceiving.
“What we do know however is that our failure to fortify flour with folic acid continues to result in women being subjected to the heartbreaking news that their pregnancy is affected by a neural tube defect such as anencephaly or spina bifida. The majority of these diagnoses end in the painful decision to end a much wanted pregnancy. Fortification of flour is an evidence based public health measure that is known to prevent neural tube defects, and we call on the government to enact this simple initiative as a matter of urgency.”
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Notes to Editors:
bpas is a charity which sees more than 70,000 women a year and provides reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. More information can be found at bpas.org.