Use of Folic Acid in Pregnancy | Benefits of Folic Acid

folic acid in pregnancy

Use of folic acid in pregnancy:

Folic acid in pregnancy is a nutrient that is very important to the mother’s health and the health of the baby. A folic acid is a form of vitamin B. It helps make new cells and helps your body use the iron you get from food. It is important for the growth of healthy tissue in the baby’s body, especially the brain and spinal cord. Getting enough folic acid before and during early pregnancy is important. It can help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spine (neural tube defects).

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recommends that all women of child-bearing age who might consider getting pregnant should take a daily supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid. The FDA also recommends that all currently pregnant women should take a prenatal vitamin containing 600 micrograms of folic acid.

When should I start taking folic acid in pregnancy?

It is advisable to reduce the risk of neural tube defects by taking folic acid supplements before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 found that taking folic acid supplements before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy significantly reduced the risk of neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are a type of birth defect that occurs in the infancy period.

They are caused by the failure of the neural tube to close completely during the first month of pregnancy. As a result, babies are born with neural tube defects. These include spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele. Spina bifida is a condition where the spine does not develop properly. As a result, the spinal cord, which is normally protected by the spinal column, is exposed and often damaged. Anencephaly is a condition where the brain fails to develop properly.

What are the benefits of folic acid in pregnancy?

Following are the point that shows the benefits of folic acid in pregnancy:

  • Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins for pregnant women because it helps to prevent a birth defect known as neural tube defect (NTD).
  • Folic acid in pregnancy helps in the proper formation of the brain and spinal cord of the unborn baby.
  • Folic acid is also needed to convert homocysteine into other amino acids, which can be used to make proteins and other important chemicals in the body.

Folic Acid in Pregnancy

What foods are high in folic acid for pregnancy?

There are plenty of foods that are full of folic acid. Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women to consume as it reduces the risk of birth defects. One of the best ways to ensure that you get enough folic acid in pregnancy is to make sure to eat a variety of foods that are rich in this nutrient.

The following are the foods that are high in folic acid for pregnancy:

1. Eggs

2. Nuts

3. Vegetables:

  • Zucchini
  • parsnip
  • lettuce
  • green beans
  • sweet corn
  • mushrooms
  • English spinach
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • brussels sprouts

4. Legumes:

  • lima beans
  • lentils
  • red kidney beans
  • soya beans
  • chickpeas
  • haricot beans

5. Fruit:

  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Avocado

6. Juices:

  • Orange and Apple juices

Who cannot take folic acid?

Doctors recommend folic acid supplements for women who are pregnant and have the potential to get pregnant. but there are specific populations that need to avoid or have a careful eye on the amount of folate in their diets.

  • Have any pre-existing conditions including past allergies to folic acid and medicines in general
  • Has pernicious anemia or vitamin B12 deficiency (which are related)
  • Have cancer
  • Are undergoing a type of kidney dialysis.
  • Stent in your heart

When can I stop folic acid in pregnancy?

By 12 weeks, your baby’s neural tube should have closed which means it shouldn’t be necessary to take folic acid anymore. As long as you’re taking the vitamin in pregnancy multivitamin tablets from the start of your pregnancy, you might as well continue with it afterward.

Symptoms of folic acid deficiency:

Symptoms of anemia are typically due to a lack of oxygen in the body.

  • Common symptoms include tiring easily, breathlessness, and a general feeling of being faint and lacking energy.
  • Folic acid deficiencies have been linked to serious health issues, including heart disease, bone loss, and autoimmune diseases.
  • You look pale.

Causes of folic acid deficiency:

In some instances, coeliac disease can contribute to poor absorption of folic acid.

  • Pregnancy makes you tired and hungry. A growing baby eats a lot of folic acids, so folic acid levels in your body get reduced.
  • Some blood disorders can lead to depleted red blood cells – for example, sickle cell disease and thalassemia. To counter this, the diet may need extra folic acid and supplements.
  • Illness can lead to low levels of folic acid, but typically only in specific conditions such as severe Crohn’s disease.
  • If you are prescribed any kind of medicine, talk to your doctor about taking the amount of folic acid necessary for making sure your body can absorb this nutrient properly. These supplements may be recommended if you are at risk for weakened bones (osteoporosis) or anemia, which is a condition where red blood cells are low in number and certain types of medicines could help relieve some symptoms of celiac disease.

Treatment for folic acid deficiency:

Folic acid deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency. Folic acid deficiency is usually seen in pregnant women, who need higher doses of folic acid for proper fetal development. Proper supplementation can prevent many of the conditions that are caused by a vitamin B9 deficiency. The most common condition caused by folic acid deficiency is megaloblastic anemia.

Does folic acid cause weight gain?

A new study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that women who supplemented with folic acid gained more weight over the course of a 2-year study than those who took a placebo. The study followed 3,500 women aged 18 to 30 who were not pregnant at the start of the study. The women were separated into groups and given either a placebo or 800 micrograms of folic acid daily.

The results showed that women who took the folic acid supplements gained about 5 pounds more than the women who took the placebo. The researchers also found that folic acid supplementation increased the amount of glucose in the blood and doubled the chances of getting diabetes. The researchers aren’t sure how folic acid increases the risk of gaining weight, but the study shows that taking folic acid may not be the best way to increase your vitamin intake.

 

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