THE USE OF FOLIC ACID IN PREGNANCY
There are reasons why you should take folic acid in pregnancy because, When you are pregnant it is important to take all the things necessary for your baby’s development and to keep you healthy too. Folic acid is one of those things.
Folic acid is a man-made form of a B vitamin called folate. Folate plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby’s neural tube develop into the brain and spinal cord. The best food sources of folic acid are fortified cereals. Folate is naturally found in dark green vegetables and citrus fruits.
Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Take it every day and have a bowl of fortified cereal as well.
It is important to have folate in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.
One study showed that women who took folic acid for at least a year before getting pregnant cut their chances of delivering early by 50% or more.
How Much Folic Acid Should you take?
The recommended dose for all women of childbearing age is 400 mcg of folate each day. If you take a multivitamin every day, check to see if it has the recommended amount. If for some reason you don’t want to take a multivitamin, you can take folic acid supplements.
The recommended amount of folic acid for each day in terms of pregnancy:
- While trying to conceive: 400 mcg
- For the first three months of pregnancy: 400 mcg
- For months four to nine of pregnancy: 600 mcg
- While breastfeeding: 500 mcg
Benefits of taking folic acid
When taken before and during pregnancy, folic acid may also protect your baby against:
- Cleft lip and palate
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Poor growth in the womb
It has also been suggested to reduce the risk of:
- Pregnancy complications
- Heart disease
- Some types of cancers
- Alzheimer’s disease
Sources of Folic Acid
Foods that can help you get more folic acid in your diet include:
- Breakfast cereals fortified with 100% of the DV, ¾ cup
- Breakfast cereals, fortified with 25% of the DV, ¾ cup
- Beef liver, cooked, braised, 3 oz
- Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, ½ cup
- Spinach, frozen, cooked, boiled, ½ cup
- Egg noodles, enriched, cooked, ½ cup
- Citrus fruits
- Dark green vegetables