All you pregnant women out there, and all those planning to get pregnant soon – it’s time you join hands with folic acid. From preconception to conception, pregnancy, and postpartum period, folic acid accompanies you for a long time. It is the only supplement every gynecologist will prescribe you throughout pregnancy and after childbirth.
You all have heard about folic acid. You surely are taking it regularly as well. But what actually is folic acid, and what does it do? Is it really that important? Keep reading to find out all your answers today!
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid also referred to as folate and Vitamin B9 is an essential vitamin needed by all humans. However, the demand for folic acid increases massively in pregnant women. Folic acid is required for the growth and development of your baby. It is also needed for the production of red blood cells in mothers. Therefore, folic acid is vital for both the mother and the baby during pregnancy.
Why Is Folic Acid Important?
Folic acid is a vital component required for the brain development of the fetus. Deficiency of folic acid leads to neural tube defects in newborns. The neural tube is a part of the brain that develops during the first month of your pregnancy. The development of the neural tube requires folic acid. The deficiency of folic acid in the mother can lead to brain anomalies in the baby, such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Babies born with such conditions are not able to survive or suffer from paralysis and disability. Therefore, it is pivotal for all women, who are planning to get pregnant, to visit a gynecologist and start with folic acid supplementation. By the time a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she already has crossed first 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy. Since the neural tube of your baby starts to develop during this early period; it is wise to start folic acid supplementation beforehand.
How Much Folic Acid Should You Take?
Your doctor will prescribe you folic acid as soon as you get pregnant or plan to get pregnant. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) recommends the daily use of about 0.4-1mg folic acid in all women of reproductive age. In fact, your daily diet too should be rich in folic acid. Most preconception and pre-natal supplements contain about 0.6mg of folic acid.
During the first 3 months of pregnancy, your gynecologist will recommend you almost 5mg of folic acid along with a folate-rich diet.
Beyond 3 months, your doctor might reduce your dose, but you will still need to continue with the supplementation till birth and beyond. Folic acid is also recommended as a post-natal vitamin in new and breastfeeding mothers.
Are you taking folic acid regularly? Tell us the comment section below!