Taking care of yourself for a healthy pregnancy begins long before conception. There is a lot of talk about folic acid in pregnancy and its importance, so you’ll surely have heard about it. But not everyone knows exactly what its function is during pregnancy and whether it is so necessary to take it. That is why today we want to clarify all your doubts about it.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a vitamin we all need. It is found naturally in some fruits, vegetables, nuts and enriched cereals. Its function is to produce new, healthy red blood cells, which are responsible for providing oxygen to all parts of the body. That’s why it is so important for some types of anemia, it also participates in many other body functions, such as the intestinal tract and help prevent some types of cancer.
Although her best known and prominent role is that of women of childbearing age who want to have a baby. Let’s see what functions it has and its importance in pregnancy.
Folic acid in pregnancy
Folic acid is the vitamin supplement for pregnant women and for women who are looking to stay in condition. Its fundamental role is the multiplication of cells, which helps in the early stages of conception where baby’s tissues and organs are formed. This helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida, which usually occur in the first four weeks of pregnancy. The neural tube is the part of the embryo from which the brain and spinal cord develop, and a problem in its initial development can cause defects in the cord or brain.
Other defects that can be avoided by taking the necessary amounts of folic acid are cleft lip and anencephaly. Without the right amount, cell division is reduced and can cause serious malformations. It is also very important for the development of DNA.
To make it useful it should be taken before conception. It is recommended to start 2-3 months before the beginning of pregnancy. Women who are trying to become pregnant should take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day before becoming pregnant and during the first 3 months of pregnancy. As we have seen before it can be obtained from the diet but failing it can be administered artificially as a vitamin supplement.
Do all women need to take the same amount?
If you have already had a pregnancy with neural tube defects, have diabetes, obesity or epilepsy, or any disease that may increase the risk of neural tube defects , you will need to consult your doctor to see if you need to increase the recommended dose usual.
As we see folic acid is necessary, because it protects the health of our baby, something so important for parents. Something so simple to do can prevent you from really serious problems. It is also important to have a healthy and balanced diet, where you can get folic acid naturally and supplement it artificially. With a good diet is not enough, since with cooking and metabolizing a lot of folate is lost, and we only assimilate 25 -50%. Instead for artificial drug 100% is absorbed. Combining both we will have the perfect tandem.
That is why a visit to the doctor is important when you intend to go for the baby shortly to start taking folic acid as soon as possible. Tell them about any conditions you have that may affect your risk of these types of problems, so that they are considered when prescribing it.
Why remember… with a gesture as simple as taking a vitamin supplement a day can help your baby’s health as much. It is not only necessary for pregnancy, it is vital.