The Importance of Folic Acid In Pregnancy

Folic acid (also called vitamin B9 or folate) is something that cannot be absent during pregnancy, and even before it. In this BodyCarre article we explain why, stay tuned!

Why is folic acid so important during pregnancy?

The main reason why it is strongly recommended that this nutrient is not lacking is that it helps prevent fetal birth defects , specifically those related to the neural tube. This type of birth is quite serious and affects the spinal cord and brain, and can cause spina bifida or anencephaly.

Neural tube birth defects usually occur very early in pregnancy, even before the expectant mother knows she is pregnant. For this reason, it is insisted that the recommended amounts of folic acid be strictly observed by women, especially if they are planning or trying to become pregnant.

In the event that the recommended amount of folic acid is consumed at least one month before conceiving and remains well during the first trimester of pregnancy, the risk of neural tube defects is reduced by 70% . According to some studies, folic acid would also help reduce the risk of other defects, such as cleft lip, heart defects, palladin cleft, etc.

Other reasons why the consumption of folic acid is beneficial are that it is good for preventing anemia by creating normal red blood cells, in addition to repairing DNA and, with it, helping a rapid cell growth of the placenta. In addition, if folic acid is taken with multivitamins it can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia , which is a dangerous pregnancy complication for both the mother and the health of the developing child.

Foods that contain folic acid

There are foods that naturally contain folic acid, although, curiously, the body absorbs the synthetic version of the vitamin much better, so it is difficult to reach the right level of folic acid without consuming it in food supplements.

Some foods that naturally contain folic acid include dark green vegetables, turnips, asparagus, citrus fruits, and some legumes like lentils.

How to know if you have a folic acid deficiency

In the event that the folic acid deficiency is mild, there may be no symptoms, but despite this, it would not be taking a sufficient amount for a good embryonic development in the early stages of pregnancy. These would be the symptoms that would be noticed:

  • Physical weakness
  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss.
  • Headaches .
  • Palpitations
  • Tongue discomfort.
  • Diarrhea

How much folic acid do I need to consume?

If you want to prevent the risk of the baby having a neural tube defect, the recommended amount would be about 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. Remember to start at least a month before you start looking for pregnancy!

Once it is known that you are pregnant, the amount would amount to a minimum of 600mcg, and always less than 1000mcg, especially if you follow a vegetarian diet. This is because a vitamin B.12 deficiency is more common among vegetarians , and a high intake of folic acid could make it difficult to diagnose that deficiency.

Have you taken folic acid supplements? Share your experience with other moms!

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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