Folic Acid During Pregnancy

Folic Acid During Pregnancy

A healthy mother gives birth to a healthy child. That is why it is important for you to take extra care of yourself during this beautiful period of pregnancy , which includes maintaining a nutritious diet not only for yourself but also for the little creature growing inside you. You must have heard the name of folic acid just like this while talking about multivitamins , but would never have thought how important it actually is for your body. Doctors especially prescribe it to pregnant women , and many people also recommend it during pregnancy. But do you know why you need folic acid for pregnancy planning ?

Let’s start with the very simple things first. Folic acid is not considered the “superhero” of pregnancy just like that !

What is folic acid ?

Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Folic Acid During Pregnancy

It is also known as folate , in simple words , folic acid is vitamin ‘B’ , specifically vitamin B9 . Naturally , folic acid is found in the form of folate , which is present in foods such as dark leafy vegetables , whole grains , pulses, and oranges, for example . It is especially beneficial for the health of pregnant women.

folic acid and pregnant women

Why is folic acid so important for pregnant women ? What is so special about this specific vitamin for pregnant women that makes it different from the rest ? This unique vitamin is beneficial not only for your health , but also for your baby’s. Folic acid not only helps to speed up the cell growth of the placenta , but also protects the unborn baby from birth defects and is in fact one of the main reasons why folic acid is given to pregnant women. . In fact , folic acid is a daily requirement and is even recommended for women who are planning to become pregnant or are of child-bearing age.

What effect does it have on the body ? Folic acid and vitamin B12 work to produce healthy red blood cells , which are essential for good health. Deficiency of folic acid in the body can lead to folate deficiency anemia.

Why should folic acid be taken in early pregnancy ?

Folic acid intake is especially recommended in early pregnancy as it is essential for healthy fetal development , especially when the baby’s spine is developing. Folic acid intake can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects ( NTD ) , the most common of which are :

  • When the development of the spine and spinal cord is incomplete , then it is called spina bifida.
  • When there is very little development of the baby’s brain , then it is called anencephaly.
  • encephalocele , a condition in which the baby has an abnormal hole in the skull through which brain tissue protrudes

Babies with these severe neural tube defects usually do not live long , and babies with spina bifida may be permanently disabled. Now it is important to note that all the above birth defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy , which is extremely important , as this is mostly the time when a woman is not even aware of her pregnancy ! This is the reason why most women who are of childbearing age should consume adequate amounts of folic acid , especially if they are planning to become a mother .

Apart from these , there are other birth defects that folic acid can protect the baby from :

  • cleft palate
  • premature birth
  • very low birth weight baby
  • maldevelopment in the womb

Scientists aren’t sure why folic acid has an effect on the fetus , especially so early in a baby’s development , but they do know that folic acid is an important factor in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation. It plays a role , it is also very important in the development of DNA.

And above all, it is also beneficial for folic acid , which reduces the following risks :

  • problems in pregnancy
  • Abortion
  • heart disease
  • paralysis
  • certain types of cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Women who are slightly overweight are more likely to give birth to a baby with a neural tube defect , and this is why overweight women should take extra care of themselves and take folic acid supplements during their pregnancy. Acid should also be consumed in excess.

How much folic acid should you be taking before and during pregnancy ?

Unfortunately , for most women , it is not possible to get their daily requirement of folic acid from fortified foods alone and this is why they may need a vitamin supplement.

Let us discuss in detail the required amount a woman needs before and during pregnancy.

  • folic acid before pregnancy

A dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid is a recommended amount for women who are of childbearing age , and should start taking it before they become pregnant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , every woman over the age of 19 , and especially those who are already planning to become pregnant , should get about 400 micrograms, or 0.5 grams , of this nutrient daily to meet their daily needs . An intake of 4 mg folic acid is recommended.

  • folic acid supplements in pregnancy

Given below is a brief description of the amount of folic acid required during different stages of pregnancy. Keep in mind, however , that any supplement should be tailored to individual needs , and consult your doctor about the right supplements and dosages for you.

  • During the first 3 months : 400 micrograms

Doctors recommend pregnant women to take adequate amounts of folic acid up to 12 weeks or the first 3 months of their pregnancy . For this also the recommended daily dose is 0.4 mg , unless you have been prescribed something else.

  • 4 to 9 months : 600 micrograms

During this time it is advisable to take folic acid in high quantity , because the baby starts developing in the mother’s womb. A dosage of 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid is recommended , depending on your needs .

  • While breastfeeding : 500 mcg ( folic acid 5 mg )

Folic acid is generally considered safe , even while breastfeeding. It passes from mother to child through breast milk . No adverse effects have been seen in breast-feeding infants of women taking folic acid.

After consulting your doctor , you can continue taking your prenatal vitamins while you’re breastfeeding , or take a vitamin supplement made specifically for breastfeeding moms.

Certain conditions that require increased folic acid intake

Women who are at high risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect are advised to take more folic acid , especially up to the 12th week of pregnancy . These include the following :

  • Women who had or have had such defects in their family or in their partner’s family.
  • Women who or their partners suffer from neural tube defects.
  • Women who had suffered from it in their previous pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women who are suffering from diabetes .

Women who are very overweight may also be asked to take more folic acid , as they are more likely to give birth to a baby with neural tube defects . These women may be advised to consume more than 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.

If a woman is pregnant with twins , the doctor may prescribe 1000 to 800 milligrams of folic acid per day .

Consuming more than 1000 micrograms ( 1 mg of folic acid ) a day is not recommended , unless recommended by your doctor. This should be kept in mind by women who follow a vegan diet . Vegans are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency , and consuming too much folic acid can make it difficult to diagnose that deficiency.

In the case where a woman is pregnant with a neural tube defect in the first child , she may be asked to take 4000 micrograms of folic acid daily , in which case the woman is more likely to have problems with neural tube defects in the second pregnancy . to 5 percent.

Women who are taking medicines for epilepsy may also need more folic acid. Smoking and drinking alcohol every day also affects the amount of folic acid in the body , so giving up these bad habits during pregnancy is also recommended.

When should I start taking folic acid ?

Since the chances of birth defects are highest in the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy , it is important that you have adequate folic acid in your body during that crucial time. This is why prenatal vitamins are so important , as they ensure that the body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to be ready for the baby to come.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends starting taking folic acid every day for at least one month before becoming pregnant and continuing it throughout the duration of pregnancy . If you are of childbearing age , you can start taking it even earlier.

If you are pregnant , you should continue to take folic acid and iron supplements during pregnancy and for the first six months of breastfeeding.

Do note that before considering taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy , it is best to consult a doctor to avoid any unnecessary side effects and get the full benefits of this excellent vitamin . Another reason for this is that , if you are already taking certain medicines , folic acid supplement taken in pregnancy can have an effect on the body. However , you can continue to eat foods rich in folic acid safely and in moderation.

When you are thinking of becoming a mother , do consult your nutritionist and make a proper diet plan containing folic acid to prepare your body well for pregnancy. Folate enhances fertility and growth. Especially include it in your diet while planning for pregnancy.

Symptoms and treatment of folic acid deficiency

It may happen that the symptoms of folic acid deficiency are not very severe , and may not be very obvious. When your body isn’t deficient , you may not notice any symptoms , but this means you may not be getting enough of what is needed for your baby’s early fetal development.

Some common symptoms of folic acid deficiency are :

  • weakness
  • Tiredness
  • mood swings and changes in your behavior
  • irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • blisters on tongue
  • unexplained weight loss
  • heart palpitations
  • oblivion

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms are general symptoms and can also be signs of other diseases. Another thing to note is that the symptoms of folate deficiency are very similar to those of iron deficiency. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above , you are advised to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis before taking over – the – counter supplements She goes. A proper medical examination helps in differentiating between the two and finding out the exact root cause so that the same can be treated.

Folic acid deficiency is usually treated by taking folic acid tablets in the dosage prescribed by your doctor. In addition , including foods rich in folic acid in your diet can be beneficial for your health. These include dark leafy vegetables , cereals , fortified breads , and citrus fruits. By making them a part of your diet daily, there is no deficiency of folic acid.

folic acid rich foods for pregnancy

Of course, supplements are available for folic acid , but eating foods containing B12 folic acid is also good for health . No supplement can take the place of a healthy diet , so during pregnancy , make sure you consume both. This will ensure that you are getting enough of this vital element of pregnancy.

Below is a list of some folic – acid rich foods that are beneficial for the health of both pregnant women and women trying to conceive .

Since folic acid is sensitive to heat , it is important to be careful not to overcook foods that contain folate , as this will destroy their nutritional value. Foods and vegetables rich in folate should be sparingly cooked , preferably boiled or raw, unless this is not possible ; Such as rice , which cannot be eaten raw.

1. nuts and dried fruits

  • Almond
  • nuts
  • Groundnut
  • Walnut
  • mole

2 . legumes

  • soybeans
  • cowpea
  • Beans
  • dried peas
  • gram

3. Cereal

  • cooked white rice
  • whole grain flour
  • Semolina
  • Oat
  • fortified flour

4. the meat

  • egg white
  • Liver is also rich in folic acid , but it is not recommended during pregnancy , or when trying to conceive , because it is also rich in vitamin A , which in excess can cause birth defects in the baby. can be the reason.

List of fruits and vegetables containing folic acid

It is believed that dark leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid , but there are other fruits and vegetables that may not contain the same amount of folic acid , but they provide the same nutrients.

1. vegetables

These include mostly dark leafy vegetables , which are generally known to be rich in folate.

  • parents
  • Cauliflower
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • radish leaves
  • green peas
  • Maize
  • Cauliflower
  • turnip leaves
  • Beetroot
  • mustard leaves
  • ladyfinger
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus

2 . Fruit

You will be surprised to know that many of your favorite fruits also have a good amount of them . Contains folic acid.

  • Orange
  • Strawberries
  • muskmelon
  • Watermelons
  • done
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberry
  • ripe papaya
  • Pomegranate
  • Guava
  • avocado
  • side effects of folic acid in pregnancy

It is generally considered safe to consume folic acid in its natural form ( i.e. from foods ) , but it may be unsafe if consumed in excess of the recommended amount. 300 – 400 micrograms of folic acid is generally considered a safe amount during pregnancy. If folic acid is taken in excess, you will see the following symptoms.

  • stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • skin rash
  • sleep disorders
  • irritability
  • preoccupation
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • skin allergy
  • seizures
  • gas

According to recent medical reports, high intake of folic acid may be related to autism in children. Nowadays , women shy away from consuming folic acid during their pregnancy. This is because there are many reports claiming the link between folic acid and autism. But , consuming too much of anything can be harmful , isn’t it ? Furthermore , there is no conclusive evidence for a link between folic acid and autism. And since folic acid is water soluble , normally your body doesn’t store excess folic acid. Instead of being stored anywhere in the body , it is passed out through urine.

So to conclude , folic acid is a true “superhero” of pregnancy ! In fact , it is important for all women who are of childbearing age. Since it is a nutrition that is very beneficial for the health of both mother and child , you will understand its importance before , during and after pregnancy .