What is Folic Acid and Why is it Important in Pregnancy?

If you are just setting out on your journey to conceive, mentally preparing for starting a family or even simply planning when to come off your birth control, you may not have heard about Folic Acid or about its importance during pregnancy. Whilst there are lots of things you can do to physically prepare your body for a baby, including eating well, exercising regularly and reducing stress levels, taking a regular supplement is also really important. Ensuring your body has the right level of nutrients and vitamins will give you a solid start in conceiving and support you in progressing The post What is Folic Acid and Why is it Important in Pregnancy? appeared first on The Pulse.

What is Folic Acid and Why is it Important in Pregnancy?

If you are just setting out on your journey to conceive, mentally preparing for starting a family or even simply planning when to come off your birth control, you may not have heard about Folic Acid or about its importance during pregnancy.

Whilst there are lots of things you can do to physically prepare your body for a baby, including eating well, exercising regularly and reducing stress levels, taking a regular supplement is also really important. Ensuring your body has the right level of nutrients and vitamins will give you a solid start in conceiving and support you in progressing through each term of your pregnancy.

Here’s what you need to know about Folic Acid, otherwise known as Vitamin B9.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic Acid (otherwise known as Vitamin B9) is used by your body to create red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Vitamin B9 occurs naturally in certain foods, but as it is difficult to get the right amount purely from your diet, you can also take Folic Acid as a supplement, normally in the form of a small tablet.

It is recommended that women consume 400mg of folic acid a day when trying to conceive and continue to do so for at least the early stages (1st trimester) of their pregnancy. Many women choose to take it throughout their pregnancy and start as soon as they are trying to conceive; with the aim of ensuring vitamin B stores in their body remain high throughout their pregnancy.

Why is Folic Acid Important?

Taking folic acid whilst your baby is in its most significant stages of development can significantly reduce the risks of birth defects relating to the Neural Tube – the part of your embryo which develops to form your baby’s spinal cord, spine, brain and skull.

Defects relating to the Neural Tube can lead to conditions such as spina bifida which amongst other things, can cause difficulties with physical movement or paralysis. In extreme cases, neural tube defects can also cause a condition known as anencephaly which is often incompatible with life and lead to still birth.

Folic Acid can significantly reduce these risks and taking a Folic Acid supplement can be easily incorporated into your morning routine.

How can I build up Folic Acid Naturally?

Folate occurs naturally in some foods but it is extremely difficult to get the required amount from diet alone. You can however, eat a variety of folate rich foods in addition to taking a daily supplement.

Some foods rich in folate which you may want to include as part of a balanced pregnancy diet include:

  • Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus and cabbage
  • Citrus Fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes.
  • Legumes such as chickpeas, beans, peas and lentils.
  • Some cereals and flours are also now fortified with folic acid and vitamin D, which is a great way to kick start your morning with a healthy dose.

Most folic acid tablets can be bought at supermarkets, health food shops or from your local pharmacy. If you are pregnant and haven’t started taking folic acid yet, simply start as soon as you can.

See here for more information on a healthy pregnancy diet.

The post What is Folic Acid and Why is it Important in Pregnancy? appeared first on The Pulse.

Source : Pregistry More