Why folic acid is important during pregnancy?
All women who could become pregnant should take a folic acid supplement to help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body to make red blood cells and DNA. One third of women are not getting enough folic acid to protect against neural tube defects (NTDs). These defects occur very early in pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
Recommended daily dose of folic acid
The recommended amount of folic acid is 400μg (micrograms) per day. This can be taken on its own or as part of a pregnancy multivitamin. Even if you are taking contraception, you should still take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day. Certain chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, being overweight, or having a family history of NTDs may lead to a healthcare professional recommending a higher dose of folic acid. Always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
Foods rich in folic acid
All adults need 200 micrograms of folic acid a day, which can be obtained from foods like green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, and cabbage); peas, beans and lentils (including chickpeas and kidney beans); whole grains (including wheat bran, whole-grain rice, and oats); And foods fortified with folic acid. However, it is not possible for people who could become pregnant to get an extra 400 micrograms from their diet, so they need a supplement.
Who needs extra folic acid?
All women who could become pregnant should take a folic acid supplement for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This includes women who are planning a pregnancy, as NTDs can occur very early in pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Women who have had a previous pregnancy affected by an NTD, or who have a family history of NTDs, may need to take a higher dose of folic acid. Always check with your doctor if you are unsure. And if you are planning to have a baby or are already pregnant, make sure to take the recommended daily dose of folic acid. It is important for the health of your baby and can help prevent serious birth defects.
Taking folic acid is a simple step you can take to ensure the health of your baby. If you have any doubts or concerns about your folic acid intake, please consult your healthcare provider. Remember, a healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy you! And there you have it, a quick and easy guide on the importance of taking folic acid during pregnancy. Hope you found this information helpful!