Folic Acid and Pregnancy
There is enough scientific evidence to show that folic acid supplementation can help to prevent serious birth defects in your baby, especially before conception and during early pregnancy. It is crucial in the development of DNA i.e. the nuclear material of the cell. Folic acid plays an important role in cell growth and development as well as tissue formation.
Folic acid, also called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like spinach, vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, orange juice, and enriched grains.There is large volume of robust scientific proof that, women who gets 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%.
The most common neural tube defects are spina bifida (an incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spinal column), anencephaly (severe underdevelopment of the brain), and encephalocele (when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull).
It is advisable for all women of childbearing age – and especially those who are planning a pregnancy to consume about 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid every day.Adequate folic acid intake is very important 1 month before conception and at least 3 months afterward to reduce the risk of having a fetus with a neural tube defect. During pregnancy, women should increase the amount of folic acid to 400 to 800 micrograms (0.4 to 0.8 milligrams) daily.
Folic acid is cheap and easily available and has no side effects. Therefore a simple act such as taking a folic acid everyday can go a long way to ensure a healthy baby.