The nine months journey which every woman delights to go through often comes with anxieties and uncertainties. Often times, everything goes right; but a lot can indeed go wrong when it comes to the development of the little one. The good part is a lot can be done in preventing some conditions and ensuring the development of a healthy baby.
I carried out a survey on the level of awareness of the intake of Folic acid, and its benefits in pregnancy and in the development of unborn babies. To my pleasant surprise, quite a number of people are not aware of this pregnancy superhero.
What is Folic acid?
Folic acid is a B-Vitamin(Vitamin B9). It is also called folate.Folic acid is man-made from folate.Folate is found naturally in some foods. Folic acid is important in the production of red blood cells.
Who should take Folic acid?
Everyone needs folic acid but it is very important for women who are of reproductive age (from 15 years old), women trying to conceive and pregnant women.
When should you start taking folic acid?
Most birth defects occur at the very early stages (first 3-4 weeks) of pregnancy,before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Considering the fact that some pregnancies are not planned, it’s important to start taking folic acid routinely once you are of reproductive age or otherwise, one to three months before you decide to get pregnant or when trying to conceive.
Everyday sources of Folic acid include:
- Breakfast cereals
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy vegetables
- White rice
What are the benefits of Folic acid?
The neural tube forms the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid helps the neural tube close correctly. Folic acid prevents major defects like :
Anencephaly: which is incomplete development of the brain.
Other conditions include: cleft lip and palate,miscarriages, low birth weight.
How much Folic acid should you take?
Taking folic rich foods cannot guarantee the same benefits as taking folic acid. 400mcg is the recommended daily dose for women of child bearing age. 400mcg in the first 3 months of pregnancy. 600mcg in the 4th to 9th month of pregnancy. 500mcg is recommended when breastfeeding.
In a nutshell
The daily intake of Folic acid can reduce the chances of neural tube defects in your unborn baby. It is important to make a daily habit of taking folic acid once you are of reproductive age, single, married, trying to conceive or pregnant.
Did you know?
You can’t get too much folic acid from foods that contain it. Prenatal vitamins sometimes do not contain the recommended dose of Folic acid and it’s advisable to take folic acid on its own. Folic acid is not expensive.
You do not need a prescription to get folic acid.