The superhero of pregnancy is folic acid! Prenatal vitamins containing the necessary 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid can help prevent brain and spinal cord birth abnormalities in your unborn child. Take folic acid daily in pregnancy and feel free to have a bowl of fortified cereal as well.
What Folic Acid Is?
Folic acid is a synthetic version of the B vitamin folate. Folate is essential for the synthesis of red blood cells and the development of your baby’s neural tube into their brain and spinal cord. Fortified grains are the finest suppliers of folic acid. Natural sources of folate include dark green vegetables and citrus fruits.
How Soon Should You Start Consuming Folic Acid?
Within the first 3–4 weeks of pregnancy, birth abnormalities happen. Therefore, during those crucial early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are forming, it’s crucial to have folate in your system. According to one study, women who took folic acid for at least a year before becoming pregnant reduced their risk of having an early delivery by 50% or more. The CDC (Centre For Disease Control And Prevention) advises starting folic acid daily for at least a month before becoming pregnant and continuing it daily while you are pregnant. But the CDC also advises all women who are childbearing age to take folic acid.
What Daily Dosage Of Folic Acid Is Necessary To Take?
All women of reproductive age should consume 400 mcg of folate every day. Verify that your daily multivitamin has the required quantity if you take one. You can use folic acid pills instead of a multivitamin if you don’t want to for any reason.
The daily folic acid recommendation during different stages of pregnancy is as follows:
|Stages||Folic acid dosage recommendation|
|When trying to conceive||400 mcg|
|First three months of pregnancy||400 mcg|
|Pregnancy months four to nine||600 mcg|
|When breast-feeding||500 mcg|
Read more: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
Benefits Of Taking Folic Acid In Pregnancy
Folic acid has several advantages, and much research has demonstrated that taking this vitamin in the months before pregnancy has significant positive effects on both the health of expectant mothers and their unborn children. Among them is lowering the risk of:
- Neural Tube Defects
Spina bifida, a spinal deformity, anencephaly, a kind of brain injury, and the less frequent Chiari malformation, in which the brain tissue protrudes into the spinal canal, are three birth abnormalities associated with low folic acid. Hence folic acid consumption reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the baby.
According to research, a folic acid shortage might make it difficult for certain women to get or maintain a pregnancy. Hence taking folic acid is necessary to avoid miscarriage or problems during pregnancy.
- Cleft Lip And Palate
The mouth deformity, where the lip has an opening in it and doesn’t develop properly, is prevented with folic acid. Hence folic acid is necessary to avoid cleft lip and palate.
- Preterm Labor
A folic acid-rich diet may aid in preventing labor before 37 weeks. Hence to prevent preterm labor folic acid is necessary and has a lot of benefits during pregnancy.
Hence there are a lot of benefits of folic acid in pregnancy and is necessary for both mother’s and the child’s health.
Food Sources Of Folic Acid
You may increase your folic acid intake with the following foods:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Fortified foods and supplements
Hence there are a lot of benefits to consuming folic acid during pregnancy. It is necessary to prevent different diseases in babies and pregnancy complications. Hence the right amount of folic acid intake is mandatory.