Folic Acid is a superhero during pregnancy! Prenatal vitamins with 400 mg (mcg), of Folic acid can prevent birth defects in your baby’s brain or spinal cord. You can take it every day, and you can also have a bowl full of fortified cereal.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid, a man-made vitamin B called folate, is a form of folate. Folate is an essential component of the production red blood cell. It also helps your baby’s brain develop into their brain, and spinal cord. Fortified cereals are the best source of folic acid. You can find folate in citrus fruits and dark green vegetables.
When Should I Start Taking Folic Acid?
Birth defects are most common in the first three to four weeks of pregnancy. Folate is essential for your baby’s brain development. Prenatal vitamins with Folic acid are recommended by most doctors if you had a conversation with your doctor while you were trying to conceive. One study found that women who had taken folic acid at least one year before becoming pregnant had a 50% chance of having a baby.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women start taking folic acids every day for at minimum a month, and then every day during pregnancy. The CDC recommends that all women who are pregnant take folic acid daily. It’s fine to begin taking it earlier.You should take your prenatal vitamin to your OB if you have chosen your own prenatal vitamins. They will verify that it contains the correct amounts of everything, including folic acids. Prenatal vitamins may not be the same. Some may contain less or more vitamins and minerals than others.
How much should I take?
For women over the age of 40, 400mcg is the recommended daily intake. Check to make sure your multivitamin contains the recommended daily intake. Folic acid supplements are an alternative to multivitamins. Here are the recommended daily intakes of Folic Acid for pregnant women:
- You’re trying to conceive while you are on the hunt for 400 mcg
- 400 mcg for the first three months.
- 600 mcg for the first four-to-nine months of pregnancy
- Breastfeeding: 500 mg
What are the benefits of Folic Acid During Pregnancy?
Your baby may have problems with their neural tubes if there is not enough folic acid. These include:
- Spina Bifida: incomplete development of the spine cord or vertebrae
- Anencephaly – incomplete development of major brain parts
Babies born with anencephaly are less likely to live long. Spina bifida can cause permanent disability. These are serious problems. The good news is that your baby may be protected by at least 50% if they get enough folic acid.
The CDC states that folic acid can reduce the risk of your child having a neural tube defect if you have had a previous baby. It is recommended to increase your daily intake of folic acid if you have ever had a child with a neural tube defect. Talk to your doctor about the amount you should be taking. Folic acid can also be taken during and before pregnancy to protect your baby from:
- Cleft lip & palate
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Low growth in the womb
Folic acid may also be helpful in reducing your risk of developing:
- Pregnancy complications: One study found that women who took Folic Acid Supplements in the Second Trimester of pregnancy had a lower risk of preeclampsia.
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Food sources of Folic Acid in Good Taste
These foods can help you consume more folic acid and they are the best food for pregnancy.
- 400 mcg Breakfast Cereals fortified 100% of DV, 3/4 Cup
- 215 mcg Beef Live, Cooked, Braised, 3 Oz
- 179 mcg Lentils, mature Seeds, Cooked, Boil, 1/2 Cup
- 115 mcg: Spinach, frozen, cooked, boiled, 1/2 cup
- 110 mcg: Egg noodles, enriched, cooked, 1/2 cup
- 100 mcg Breakfast Cereals, fortified 25% of DV, 3/4 Cup
- 90 mcg Great Northern beans, boiling, 1/2 cup
What are Neural Tube Defects (NTD)?
Neural tube defects refer to birth defects that cause incomplete development of the brain or spinal cord. These are the most common neural tube defects:
- Spina bifida – When the spinal cord and spine are not completely connected
- Anencephaly is a serious underdevelopment of the brain
- Encephalocele: When brain tissue protrudes from the skull through an opening.
These defects usually occur in the first 28 days after a woman becomes pregnant. Folic acid is essential for all women, not just those trying to conceive. Half of all pregnancies do not go as planned. Therefore, any woman who is considering becoming pregnant should ensure she has enough folic acid. Folic acid is thought to have a powerful effect on the prevention and treatment of neural tube defects. Experts know that folic acid is essential for the development of DNA. Folic acid is essential for cell growth and development as well as the formation of tissue.
How can I get enough Folic Acid?
How can pregnant women, especially those planning to have a baby, get enough folic acids every day? Food-makers are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include folic acid in enriched grain products.
You can increase your daily intake of folic acid by eating breakfast cereals and pastas. For more information, check the label of the product. For most women, consuming fortified food is not enough. A vitamin supplement is necessary to reach the recommended daily intake. You need to consume more all essential nutrients during pregnancy than before.
To complete a healthy diet you should take prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins can be a great way to give your baby and yourself a boost of vitamins. A prenatal vitamin and folic acid supplement are recommended by some health care professionals. Discuss your daily intake of folic acid with your doctor. Your doctor might recommend either a prescription or an over-the counter brand of folic acid, or both. Talk to your doctor if your pregnancy was already affected by a neural tube defect, or if your partner has been affected. Your doctor might recommend you take more folic acid, even before you get pregnant to help you get pregnant fast.