Before planning a baby or conceiving, there are many significant factors to take into consideration. Besides maintaining a good health and a wholesome reproductive system, you must also consider taking certain supplements that will benefit the healthy growth of the baby inside your womb.
Among the multiple vitamins and minerals supplements that your obstetrician might prescribe you, folic acid is considered a superhero in pregnancy.
What is folic acid?
Folic Acid is a man-made form of Vitamin B called folate. It plays the most important role in RBC production and helps with the development of the neural tube in the brain and spinal cord.
The next most important question that arises is,
When should folic acid supplements be started?
Since folic acid holds the highest significance in the baby’s brain and spinal cord development, so ideally you should prepare your body by consuming folic acid supplements since you start planning to conceive. Also, a study showed that women who have been taking folic acid supplements since a year before conception, complete gestation period before giving birth.
How much folic acid is recommended?
Doctors recommend a dose of 400 mcg of folic acid combined with prenatal vitamins daily before and daily pregnancy.
The recommended amount of folic acid differs along the various stages of pregnancy:
- Before conceiving – 400 mcg
- 1st trimester of pregnancy – 400 mcg
- 2nd & 3rd trimester of pregnancy – 600 mcg
- Breastfeeding age – 500 mcg
This is how you can help your baby with the intake of folic acid supplements.
Advantages of Taking Folic Acid during Pregnancy:
Reduces the risk of neural tube defects -
Folic acid plays the most important role in the neural tube development of your fetus. This prevents any prenatal defects during the formation of the central nervous system.
A deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy can lead to Spina bifida or Anencephaly in your child.
Spina bifida is the incomplete development of the spinal cord and Anencephaly is incomplete brain development, both of which can result in disabled babies.
Prevents complications in your newborn -
There are some conditions in newborns that can be avoided when folic acid supplements are taken regularly
- Cleft lip and palate
- Premature Birth
- Low birth weight
- Poor development of the fetus in the womb
Some good folic acid food sources include fortified cereals, beef liver, lentils, spinach, and egg noodles. However, a folic acid supplement is the best option for your baby’s development during pregnancy.
Visit a gynecologist/obstetrician for medical and pregnancy advice.