Written by Editorial Team
Folic acid is one perfect nutrient that holds your hand in positive support right from when you conceive to when you breastfeed. Also known as folate, it is a B-Vitamin, extremely beneficial for the good health of you and the baby.
In fact, doctors even suggest women to start taking folate right from when they are trying to conceive. It is a friend from the instant you think of conceiving to breastfeeding.
In This Article
Folate or folic acid is essentially a form of a water-soluble B vitamin that is required by the body cells to develop and function effectively. It helps in treating low blood levels of folate (folate deficiency), anemia, and certain other conditions caused by deficiency of folate. Women trying to get pregnant should consume about 400 mg daily.
B vitamin should be taken before pregnancy because it helps reduce the baby’s risk of birth defects of the brain and spine during the first trimester. Spina bifida and anencephaly are both types of neural tube defects that can affect your baby or even cause a miscarriage.
Taking the supplement prior to becoming pregnant is recommended. The baby’s crucial neural tube is formed in the first few weeks of pregnancy when most women are unaware of their pregnancy
Though many studies have come forward that advise women to take folic acid every day if they are sexually active, 400 micrograms of B vitamin are advised for all women who are trying for a baby. The usually recommended amount for folic acid during the conceiving and the first few months of pregnancy is 400 mcg.
The doctor increases the dosage to about 600 mcg during the fourth to the ninth month of the gestation period. You need to continue taking the supplements at 500 mcg, even when you are breastfeeding.
The doctor checks your medical history to find if you have other chronic conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy. In such circumstances, you have to take an increased amount of folate because certain medicines prevent the absorption of the vitamin. The idea is to replenish the body with an adequate supply so that you have sufficient to balance the lessened absorption.
Women with a BMI over 25 also need to take an enhanced dosage of the supplement. The upper limit of folic acid consumption would be 1000 mg every day unless a woman is affected by conditions like sickle cell anemia or a previous pregnancy with any indication of neural tube defects.
B Vitamin plays a vital role in developing the brain and spinal cord of the little life you are carrying. Fetuses grow a neural tube first, which then proliferates to the brain and spinal cord. B vitamin sees that this development proceeds perfectly. In fact, this is the reason why you must take the B vitamin in the first weeks of pregnancy. It is during this phase that the baby develops the brain and spinal cord.
In addition, this amazing nutrient boosts the production of red blood cells. This means your blood increases in the ability to carry oxygen. The body of a pregnant woman constantly refreshes to cast out the toxins from the internal environment.
The auxiliary oxygen supply helps in detoxification greatly. It also prevents any possibility of developing pregnancy anemia. You can be very comforting in the assurance that vitamin B also neutralizes the chances of birth defects in the baby.
Nature is rich in fruits and vegetables with B vitamins. In addition, the doctor prescribes folate pills to maintain its supply to the body. Fruits containing the B vitamin include ripe papaya, strawberries, and cantaloupe melons (kharbooja). It is also found in oranges, guava, pineapple, and pomegranate (anaar), bananas, and raspberries. Among nuts and dried fruits, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds supply the nutrient. Legume sources are kidney beans (rajma), chickpeas (chhola), dried peas, and black-eyed peas (lobhia).
Several vegetables are also good sources. These include dark green leafy ones such as spinach, fenugreek (methi), corn, radish, cauliflower, beet-root, turnip greens (shalgram), okras (bhindi), and mustard greens. Whole grain flours and kinds of pasta also serve as excellent sources. When buying cereals, you can check the label if it is ‘fortified’ with folate.
This wonder B vitamin has been found to be effective for people who have kidney problems. It helps lowering homocysteine levels that can cause heart diseases and strokes. High blood pressure, depression, and age-related loss of vision are also some conditions where folic acid is believed to be possibly effective. Taking folic acid by mouth seems to improve symptoms of a skin discoloration disorder called vitiligo.
Long-term doses of B vitamins without proper monitoring can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, and confusion. Other side effects are nausea, stomach upset, behavior changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, and excitability. Some research suggests that taking folic acid in doses of 800-1200 mcg might increase the risk of a heart attack in people who have heart problems.
Other research suggests that taking these high doses might also increase the risk of cancer. such as lung or prostate cancer, quotes www.webmd.com
Fetal neural tube abnormalities are more likely in mothers who do not consume enough folic acid before and during pregnancy. Birth malformations affecting the brain or spinal cord, known as neural tube defects, are extremely dangerous.
Folic acid, at the dose of 400 micrograms, should be taken daily from the time of conception until the 12th week of pregnancy. Defects of the neural tube, such as spina bifida, can be avoided with the use of folic acid during the initial weeks of pregnancy.
Yes. Including eggs in your diet is an excellent way to increase your intake of a variety of essential nutrients, including folate. One large egg contains 22 mcg of folate. Starting your day with two eggs can provide 30% of your daily folate requirement. (Folate is a B vitamin that can be found in a variety of foods. A folic acid is a synthetic form of folate.)
Cereals enriched with folic acid for breakfast, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and leafy green vegetables like cabbage, kale, spring greens, and spinach, as well as peas, chickpeas, and kidney beans, are all good sources of folic acid.
It is recommended that folic acid be consumed in the morning since it is easier to digest then. Because metabolism and digestion both slow down throughout the night, it becomes more challenging to absorb the supplement.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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