Folic Acid Pregnancy – Overview
Folic acid is a B vitamin. It helps our bodies create new cells. Think about the skin, hair, and nails. Every day, these and other body parts produce new cells.
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate that is used in supplements and fortified foods including rice, pasta, bread, and some breakfast cereals because it does not typically occur naturally.
What Is a Folic Acid?
A B vitamin called folic acid (also known as folate) is mostly found in fortified grains, legumes like beans and peas, and dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach.
Benefits of Folic Acid
Before conception and for at least three months later, pregnant or trying-to-conceive women should consume 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid daily. According to studies, this significantly lowers a baby’s risk of developing serious neural tube defects.
What Is Neural Tube Defect?
Birth problems called “neural tube defects” concern the brain and spinal cord’s inadequate development. These are the most typical neural tube defects:
Spinning Bifida. occurs when the spinal column and spinal cord incompletely close.
Anencephaly. when the brain, scalp, and skull do not develop normally (partially open).
Encephalocele. Is when brain tissue emerges from the skull and contacts the skin.
These birth abnormalities occur within the first 28 days of pregnancy, frequently before the mother is even aware that she is expecting.
Because of this, it’s crucial for all women of reproductive age to consume enough folic acid, not just those who are attempting to conceive. Anyone who could get pregnant should take steps to get adequate folic acid because half of the pregnancies are unplanned.
Why folic acid has such a significant impact on preventing neural tube abnormalities unclear. However, experts are aware that it’s crucial for the formation of DNA. As a result, folic acid plays a significant role in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation.
When Should I take Folic Acid?
Within the first 3–4 weeks of pregnancy, birth defects happen. Therefore, during those crucial early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing, it’s crucial to have folate in your system.
When you were trying to get pregnant, your doctor likely advised you to start taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid. According to one study, women who took folic acid for at least a year prior to becoming pregnant reduced their risk of having an early delivery by 50% or more.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) Guidelines suggest that you keep taking folic acid every day for at least a month before you become pregnant and every day when you are pregnant.
However, all women of childbearing age should take folic acid daily, according to the CDC. You may therefore begin taking it even early.
When you get pregnant, take the prenatal vitamin you choose to your OB to make sure it has the necessary levels of all the nutrients you require, including folic acid. There are variations among prenatal vitamins, and some may include fewer or more of the vitamins and minerals you require.
The Women Need for Folic Acid
Due to the fact that about half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and major birth defects of the baby’s brain or spine occur very early in pregnancy (3–4 weeks after conception), before most women are aware that they are pregnant, all women of reproductive age should take 400 mcg of folic acid every day.
A higher dose of folic acid than 400 mcg per day is not always preferable to avoid neural tube abnormalities unless a doctor advises you to take more because of other health issues. Women who have already experienced a pregnancy impacted by a neural tube defect should speak with their healthcare professional before trying to get pregnant.
The CDC advises these women to take 4,000 mcg of folic acid daily during the first three months of pregnancy and one month prior to conception.
The Source of Folic Acid
The following foods can help you increase the amount of folic acid in your diet:
1/2 cup of lentils and mature seeds contain about 179mcg of folic acid.
3/4 cup of cereal fortified with 100% of DV contains 400mcg
1/2 cup of Spinach may contain about 115 mcg.
3 oz. of braised, cooked beef liver contains 215 mcg.
1/2 cup egg noodles, enriched, cooked have 110 mcg.
1/2 cup great Northern beans, boiled consists 90 mcg.