Moms-to-be! Are you getting enough Folic Acid for you and your baby?
I’m sure while you are reading this blog you certainly know about the super hero of vitamins that your gynecologist has suggested to use during your pregnancy. Yes! you are right. Its folic acid or folate (as the term may be used interchangeably).
Natural available folic acid is a B vitamin that is found in foods and needs activation within the human body so that it becomes a functional coenzyme and co-substrate for different vital reaction in body.Naturally it is found in green vegetables, brown rice, orange juice and some breakfast cereals, fortified flour (check the label) and in most pregnancy supplements.
According to World health organization Folic acid requirements are increased in pregnancy because of the rapidly dividing cells in the fetus and elevated urinary losses.Therefore, the folate supplementation should be continued throughout pregnancy should begin as early as possible and should be given to all pregnant adolescents and adult women no matter what so ever the age may be.
Folate Fact Check
Researches indicate that the intake of folic acid supplements significantly lowered the risk of Neural tube defects (NTD) in developing fetus. Simply put, if you start supplementation of folic acid around the time you plan to conceive, then there’s less risk of your baby being born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folic acid lowers the baby’s risk of cleft lip and palate too. It also reduces the risk of premature birth, miscarriage, poor baby growth and low birth weight problems.
Folate is required for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA. It is also important for the quick growth of the placenta and developing baby and pregnant mother.
Folate enhances the production of red blood cells in body. This is vital during pregnancy when anemia (iron deficiency) is a common complaint. Folic acid ensures that the red blood cell (RBC) count is normal in pregnant woman.
All women who can likely conceive, are advised to take a supplement of 600μg (micrograms) of folate each day. If you’ve just found out you are pregnant and had not been taking folic acid supplements, start them right away and continue to take them until at leastthe 12th week of pregnancy. Some authorities may suggest use of folate to all married woman, in order to avoid the risk of NTDs in case of unplanned pregnancy.
Folate is mostly likely to help with the baby’s development if started at earliest during the pregnancy.
Folate supplements are available over the counter in pharmacies. A bioactive folic acid supplement may be good choice for use in pregnancy.
You can boost your folic acid by eating foods rich in folate. But here is our reminder to you, you’ll still need to take a supplement to get the full amount you need while you’re pregnant and lactating.