Fiona Shannon

Busy Mum of two and fitness instructor Fiona Shannon is married with two beautiful daughters, Caragh aged 14 and Niamh who’s 11. Niamh was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at 24 weeks. With both her pregnancies, Fiona started taking Folic Acid when she was around six weeks pregnant.

fiona shannon and daughter niamh

“With both my girls, I found out early on that I was pregnant so it wasn’t like either pregnancy came as a surprise. But I didn’t start taking folic acid until after I found out that I was pregnant. Not taking folic acid is one of the main reasons for having spina bifida.”

“Both my pregnancies were planned so if I’d been told what to do before we had even conceived, then I would have done that. Obviously there are unplanned pregnancies and in that case it’s different. But you should still take a folic acid tablet every day, just in case you could get pregnant”.

“When I was pregnant with the girls, the importance of folic ccid wasn’t really pushed as much as it is now. As a family, we’ve experienced first-hand how not taking it can impact on someone’s life”.

“With Niamh, I found out at my 24 week scan that she had spina bifida. And while we were told the worse-case scenarios, we were very fortunate because her condition wasn’t as severe as it can be for other children. Niamh’s great, very happy and outgoing but she does have her difficulties, in particular with her bladder and bowel”.

fiona shannon and daughter outside“Niamh doesn’t use a wheelchair now unless we’re away on holidays somewhere but she does wear splints on her legs which I know annoy her sometimes. She’s doing really well in school but obviously there are some things I’m sure she wishes she could do. But one thing about Niamh is that she takes it all as it comes – she’s absolutely brilliant”.

“She has taken everything in her stride but as we’re coming into her teenage years, it can be hard when she’s picking an outfit because she wants to cover the splints. But despite all of that, she’s just your typical ‘girly girl’ – she loves her swimming and drama and doesn’t let anything stop her – We are so proud of her”.

“Taking a folic acid tablet a day is so simple and so easy. It doesn’t mean you are planning a baby but it does mean that when you do have a baby, however far in the future that may be, you’re already helping to protect their health”.