Folic acid is crucial for helping to prevent serious birth defects in your baby. This is why it’s important that women take a folic acid supplement before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy.
If you’re pregnant or trying for a baby, then you should definitely be familiar with folic acid, an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in the growth of a baby in early pregnancy. Also known as folate, this B group vitamin cannot be made in the body, so it must be taken either in dietary form or by means of a folic acid supplement in tablet form.
If you are sexually active and could become pregnant, whether you are planning to or not, it’s recommended that you take a 400 micrograms folic acid supplement every day before pregnancy and during the first three months of pregnancy.
Why is folic acid so important in pregnancy?
Your baby’s spine develops fully in the first 28 days of pregnancy. That’s why taking folic acid is essential for three months before and during the first three months of pregnancy. You never know when you might become pregnant, so taking folic acid every day helps protect your baby.
Taking folic acid can help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, known as neural tube defects (NTDs). Spina bifida is one of the most common NTDs. NTD’S can bring about nerve damage or incomplete brain development in severe cases, causing disabilities. Many of these (70%) could be prevented by taking folic acid.
It’s good for mum too
Folic acid is also beneficial for you too, as it works with vitamin B12 to form healthy red blood cells.
It’s best to take folic acid as an individual supplement because that ensures that you get the right dose of 400 micrograms a day. Some multi-vitamins may contain 400 micrograms of folic acid but they may also could contain vitamin A, which is not recommended during pregnancy.
Even if you eat foods that are rich in folate but you will still need to take a folic acid supplement. Some breads, margarines and breakfast cereals have folic acid added during the manufacturing process.
- brussels sprouts
- black-eyed beans
- baked potatoes
- bran flakes
- hard-boiled eggs
- tinned salmon
- yeast extract
- orange juice or an orange
- brown rice
- granary bread
Did you know?
Only 50% of pregnancies are planned, so any woman who could become pregnant should make sure she’s getting enough folic acid.
For more information : http://www.safefood.eu
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