A B vitamin, folic acid can be found mainly in leafy green veggies such as, spinach and kale or you can find them in orange juice and enriched grains. Studies have shown that women who take four-hundred micrograms every day, one month before conception, and during the first trimester can greatly reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infants. Folic acid and pregnancy can also help to reduce the risks of other types of birth defects as well.
Folic Acid and Pregnancy: Starting off Right
The most common neural tube defects are anencephaly, spina bifida and encephalocele. Neural tube defects can happen during the first month of pregnancy, typically before a woman even knows that she’s pregnant. This is why it’s so important for a woman of childbearing age to get enough folic acid. Only fifty percent of all pregnancies are planned, so every woman who plans to have children in the future should take a daily folic acid supplement or eat a diet that’s rich in folic acid.
Doctors are still not exactly sure why folic acid has such an amazing effect on the prevention of neural tube defects, but they are sure why it’s crucial for DNA development. As a result, folic acid will play a major role in the development and growth of cells, in addition to tissue formation.
Experts recommend that women take a daily dose of 400MCGs. The correct intake of folic acid is very important before conception and needs to be taken for a minimum of three months afterward in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus.
For most women, eating a diet high in folic acid may not be enough. In order to reach the recommended daily dose, you’ll need to take a vitamin supplement. While pregnant, you will need more of all the essential nutrients then you did before you conceived. While taking a prenatal vitamin shouldn’t replace a well balanced diet, taking this supplement can add the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals that are needed for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Some physicians recommend taking a prenatal vitamin in addition to a folic acid supplement. Speak with your primary care provider or gynecologist in order to determine what’s right for you.
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