Can Taking a Birth Control Pill Prevent Birth Defects?

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

Can taking a birth control pill prevent birth defects? The question sounds rather ridiculous at first considering the fact that women take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. However, a new bill control pill just approved by the Food and Drug Administration might do just that. The drug, Beyaz, besides containing the usual ingredients of estrogen and progestin, also contains levomefolate calcium. Levomefolate calcium is a metabolite of folic acid. Women of childbearing age are encouraged to ingest the supplement to reduce birth defects associated with low folate levels such as spina bifida. The FDA hopes that women who stop taking Beyaz when they want to conceive will decrease the odds of their babies developing these birth defects due to their heightened folate levels.

Beyaz is manufactured by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, which also produces the popular birth control pill, Yaz. Like Yaz, Beyaz is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly and can be used to treat symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and moderate acne in women wanting to use an oral contraceptive.

I am extremely excited by the approval of Beyaz by the FDA. I think that this is a smart and creative way for women of childbearing age to ingest a supplement that they need without even having to think about it. The FDA is hoping that the levomefolate calcium in Beyaz with help reduce a certain type of birth defect, known as a neural tube defect. Neural tube defects are one of the most common types of birth defects with 1 in 1,000 live births in the United States. A neural tube defect is when a opening in the spinal cord or brain occurs during development. The defect can be open or closed. An open neural tube defect occurs when the brain and/or spinal cord are exposed at birth through a defect in the skull or vertebrae. Closed neural tube defects are rarer, but occur when the spinal defect is covered by skin. Many neural tube defects can be fatal and most require aggressive surgery, treatment, and management.

If you are a woman of childbearing age, consider taking a supplement containing levomefolate calcium. If you are on birth control and have a hard time remembering to take supplements or just want an easy way to get the folic acid that you need, I would encourage you to try Beyaz.

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