Folic Acid is very important for pregnant women, it is also known as folate (Vitamin B9), taking the required dose during pregnancy helps prevent birth defects, promoting proper development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Why you need Folic acid
It is very important to have the right amount of folic acid during pregnancy, the reason being that foilc acid during pregnancy helps prevent Neural Tube Defects (NTDs). NTDs are birth defects of the spinal cord and brain (such as spina bifida and anencephaly respectively). Folic acid before conception also helps you prepare for pregnancy. Recommendations by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) MMWR 1992;41(No. RR-14)- All women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume 0.4 mg of folic acid per day for the purpose of reducing their risk of having a pregnancy affected with spina bifida or other NTDs. Because the effects of higher intakes are not well known but include complicating the diagnosis of vitamin B((12)) deficiency, care should be taken to keep total folate consumption at less than 1 mg per day, except under the supervision of a physician. Women who have had a prior NTD-affected pregnancy are at high risk of having a subsequent affected pregnancy. When these women are planning to become pregnant, they should consult their physicians for advice.
In combination with B12 it helps produce Red Blood Cells, it also helps in the proper production of DNA – the Genetic Material of the body. Use of folic acid is especially critical in the early period of pregnancy especially 4-12 weeks as this is the period where the neural tube develops into the brain and spinal cord of your baby if there are low levels of folic acid in your body at this early stage, the higher the risk of birth defects.
Other benefits of folic acid during pregnancy
- It protects against premature birth
- It protects against cleft lip and palate
- It helps reduce risk of stroke
- It helps reduce risk of heart diseases.
Dietary sources of Folate include Dark green vegetables, Lentils, Beans.
A tab of folic acid a day is all you need to carry on a healthy pregnancy unless the additional dose is prescribed by your doctor. The food source of Folate cannot completely give you the required dosage you need so should be complimented with supplement.
Remember to always consult your Doctor before taking any Medication. This information in no way replaces your Doctors advice.
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