Folic Acid is one of the vital supplements for the pregnant woman. It should be consumed by the woman during and after pregnancy. Research shows that one in a thousand babies born with disorders like spina bifida, anencephaly and taking folic acid supplements can decrease the risk of such neural tube defects in the pregnancy.
What Is Folic Acid?
A folic acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin B9 which is derived from fortified foods and other supplements. It is generally utilized by the body to make new cells along with nucleic acid. It is necessary for the healthy growth and good development of the baby as it carries out specific functions like protecting the child’s ability to hear, producing the red blood cells as well as also supporting the development of the baby’s organ. If you are pregnant then your gynaecologist will prescribe you to take around 400mg of folic acid along with your prenatal vitamin supplements every day to smoothly carry out the pregnancy.
Benefits of Folic Acid
The benefits of folic acid are huge as it supports the good development of the baby in the uterus. Right from making new cells to protecting baby from many kinds of complications, here is a detailed list of benefits that you will receive by consuming folic acid.
- Prevents neural tube defects: The folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects which will become the brain and spinal cord of your baby. Besides, it protects the baby from prenatal defects during the early formation of the central nervous system.
- Produces red blood cells: The folic acid enhances the production of red blood cells which prevents anemia in pregnant women. It ensures that the red blood cell count should be uniform throughout the pregnancy.
- Protects the baby from several complications: It protects your baby from many major complications including the risk of cleft lip and palate. It also reduces the risk of premature birth, poor baby weight, low birth weight, and miscarriage.
- Protects expectant mom: It also protects the mom from different kinds of diseases like heart attack, cancer, preeclampsia, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others.
- Other requirements: Folic acid is necessary to produce and repair of DNA. Furthermore, it is also necessary for the quick growth of the placenta.
In Which Month to Start Taking Folic Acid?
If you are planning to conceive, then your doctor will advise you to start talking about the folic acid supplement. Research shows that most of the birth defect occurs during the first trimester and consuming folic acid supplements can reduce them. It is also helpful to conceive faster if you are taking folic acid. But before taking the folic acid supplement, consult with your healthcare provider to select the best prenatal multivitamin which ensures that there has been an appropriate amount of folate in the supplement.
How Much Folic Acid Need To Consumed
Folic acid is consumed before, during and after pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will provide you different amount of dosage in different periods of pregnancy. But you must need to consult your doctor to understand how much folic acid you have to consume and you should also inform about any kind of vitamin deficiency you have. Here we have listed the dosage for different pregnancy stages.
- You should take 400mg before conceiving
- For first trimester you should take 400mg
- For the second and third trimester of pregnancy, it is 600mg
- Breastfeeding should be 500mg.
Effects of Folic Acid Deficiency during Pregnancy?
Folic acid is extremely helpful during pregnancy. But the deficiency of folic acid can create complications during your pregnancy like decreased appetite, pale skin, headache, lack of energy, diarrhea, and other complications. But in most of the cases, you might not experience these kinds of symptoms but you will lack the necessary amount of folate which is required for baby’s good embryonic development.
Folic acid is essential to be pregnant, during pregnancy and for fetal development, but beware to avoid over-consumption of vitamins. Also, try to get vitamins from natural food sources as far as possible, and only use supplementary supplements as prescribed by the doctor. Talk to your obstetrician or nutritionist to prepare an ideal diet plan to supplement your body with enough nutrients.