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Importance Of Folic Acid

Importance Of Folic Acid

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When you're pregnant, you need the vitamin B folic acid. Taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid during your pregnancy drastically reduces your risk of having a baby with serious brain or spinal defects. These neural tube defects occur in the fetus soon after conception, so a woman won't likely know that she's pregnant. The two most common are spina bifida where the spine doesn't fuse properly and causes disability and paralysis in babies, and anencephaly, where the baby's skull and brain are severely undeveloped.

Sadly, up to 70 percent of neural tube defects could be prevented if folic acid was taken before and during pregnancy. That's why it's necessary for any woman who's trying to conceive, or is even childbearing age, to take folic acid to prevent miscarriage or birth defects should she become pregnant.

Folic acid comes from folates in the Vitamin B family, and is found mostly in food and drinks like leafy green vegetables, beans and orange juice. There is synthetic folic acid in fortified breakfast cereals and some grain products. Vitamins also have this synthetic form of folate, and your body actually absorbs this more easily than it does natural folic acid.

If you take folic acid each day while trying to conceive, you also reduce your baby's risk of having heart defects or a cleft palate. Besides preventing these conditions, folic acid is necessary for the growth of the placenta, the baby's production of DNA, and cell division.

Make sure you're getting enough folic acid in your diet with vegetables like spinach, enriched grain products, and snacks like sunflower seeds. Although dietary folic acid is important, you should also ask your doctor about a supplement. Most likely you won't get all the folic acid you need from foods, so a vitamin is recommended.

Boosting the amount of folic acid in your diet and with a supplement will help your body be ready for pregnancy once you conceive. Eat a variety of folate-rich foods, and look for breads and pastas that have been enriched with folic acid. A baby's health begins at conception, and you can greatly reduce your chance of have a baby with neural tube defects by making sure you're getting the right amount of folic acid.

 


 
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