How to get Pregnant » Folic Acid During Pregnancy

Folic Acid During Pregnancy

How to Get Pregnant

Folic acid is a remarkable vitamin. Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 or folacin and folate, the naturally occurring form, as well as pteroyl-L-glutamic acid and pteroyl-L-glutamate, are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9. Folic acid is essential to numerous bodily functions during periods of rapid cell division and growth. Children and adults both require folic acid in order to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.

Pregnant women need this vitamin because it can lead to many health problems, such as neural tube defects in babies. It helps to insure proper formation of the brain and spinal cord, without which there is a higher chance of miscarriage, and a 1 in 1000 chance that the child will end up with a Neural Tube Disorder (NTD).

As a pregnant woman, you should know how much folic acid you actually need and what type of foods you should eat.

Folic Acid supplementation in Pregnancy

For most women the recommended dosage for everyday health and pre-pregnancy preparation is 400 micrograms per day. Once you become pregnant the dosage should be increased to at least 600mcg, however your doctor may recommend 1000mcg, and most prenatal vitamins contain this amount. If you exhibit any of the above listed risk factors for neural tube defects it might be beneficial to take 4000 micrograms, up to 10 times the normal dosage. Discuss any potential problems with your doctor and he or she will help you determine if an increased dosage is right for you.

It is important to know that folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, thus the body will naturally flush out excess quantities present in the system, making overdosing less of a consideration than with vitamin A, for example. One of the few known dangers of taking folic acid daily is the potential for hiding a vitamin B deficiency, often occurring in vegetarians, particularly if you do not eat or drink dairy products. If you think you might be at risk for a vitamin B deficiency, consult your doctor.

The particular form known as folic acid is man made, and found primarily alone in folic acid pills, in conjunction with other daily essentials in multivitamins, and in fortified foods. The natural version which is contained in certain foods, folate, is not as readily or as effectively absorbed by your body. As such, it is highly recommended that you take the synthetic version on a daily basis. The FDA mandates that all enriched grain products, such as cereals, breads, pasta, and rice, must have folic acid added.

Green foods generally tend to contain folate, the natural version of the vitamin. Excellent sources include the aforementioned fortified breakfast cereals, lentils, beans, chickpeas, chicken and beef liver. Very good sources include oatmeal, asparagus, spinach, romaine lettuce, and lima beans. Good sources include broccoli, canned corn, enriched pastas and breads, brussel sprouts, orange juice, and avocados.

You should always have folic acid in your multivitamin supplements during pregnancy.

It is important for any woman of childbearing age to make sure she takes folic acid on a regular basis, and with few known negative side effects, proper folic acid consumption is very beneficial to you and to your baby.