Folic acid is known as a prenatal supplement. As our bodies go through a lot during pregnancies, it is important to make sure we take good care of ourselves pre and post pregnancy. It is recommended that taking folic acid before and during your pregnancy can help support your child’s development and prevent defects in the brain and spinal cord. In this article we will discuss what it is, why we need it and how you can incorporate it into your pregnancy.
What is Folic Acid and Why Do We Need It?
Folic acid is a B Vitamin. Manufactured Folic acid is converted into folate by the body and used as a diet supplement. Folate is important as it has an essential role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby develop their neural tube in the brain and spinal cord. Sources of folic acid include cereals and naturally dark green vegetables and citrus fruits.
When Should I Start Taking It?
It is important to start taking folate during the early stages of your pregnancy when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing. Defects can occur during the first month of pregnancy so therefore, it is important to make sure you’re prioritising your own health.
If you decide to start taking prenatal vitamins, you need to consult your doctor as not all prenatal vitamins are the same. Each has their own quantity of certain vitamins and minerals and you may need more of one than the other.
How Much Folic Acid Should I Consume?
It is recommended for all women, pregnant or not, to take 400mcg of folate daily. However, in terms of pregnancy, this is how much is recommended each day:
- 1-3 Months: 400mcg
- 4-9 Months: 600mcg
- While Breastfeeding: 500mcg
Without folate, your child’s neural tube may not be developed correctly and they may have neural tube defects such as:
- Spina bifida: underdeveloped or incomplete spinal cord or vertebrae
- Anencephaly: incomplete development of parts of the brain
When folic acid is taken before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent these defects in your child:
- Cleft lip and palate
- Poor growth in the womb
- Low birth weight
Additionally, it can help can also reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, heart disease, miscarriages, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sources of Folic Acid
Great sources of folic acid include breakfast cereals, beef liver, lentils, spinach and egg noodles. Implementing these foods in your diet not only promote better health overall but can help supplement your body as it goes through pregnancy.
Here at From Bump to Baby, we know how challenging and isolating pregnancy is. We’re here with you every step of the way, making sure at every scan, that you are comfortable and prioritising a happy experience for you and your baby. Contact us here today for more information.