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The Importance Of Folic Acid Prior To Pregnancy

You may wonder why folic acid is so important for pregnancy. If you are not on birth control, your doctor may be constantly reminding you to make prenatal vitamins a part of your daily routine and lecturing you on their importance. There are even websites devoted to educating women about how crucial it is in the period before and during your pregnancy. What does folic acid do and why is it so necessary?

Folic acid is a water soluble form of vitamin B6. It plays a crucial role in the early development of your baby. Folic acid is key for the production and subsequent maintenance of new cells. In this way, it helps promote the increased blood supply the body needs to create healthy fetal tissues. Without a sufficient amount of folic acid, your baby is exposed to serious neural tube defects of the spine, skull and brain such as spina bifida. These defects can develop in the first thirty days of your pregnancy and unfortunately women aren't even aware they are pregnant until after this period of time. Because of this, it's very important to be sure you are taking your folic acid regularly, even if you are not planning to conceive.

It is possible to get folic acid from your daily food intake. This may be good news for women who find taking vitamins difficult or who are nauseated by some of the ingredients in prenatal vitamins. The word folic comes from the Latin folum which means leaf. It's no surprise then, that dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are excellent natural sources of folate. You can also find it in beans, peas and other legumes. Doctors recommend non pregnant women take 300 micrograms of folic acid daily and 600 micrograms for expecting mothers. An easy way to ensure that you are meeting your daily requirements is to take a multi or prenatal vitamin daily that includes a minimum .4mg of folic acid.

Try to consider taking your vitamin or eating the proper folate-filled foods a part of your morning or evening ritual. In the same way that you brush your teeth to prevent decay daily, taking your vitamin will ensure the health of your child whether you are taken by surprise sometime in the future or you are hoping to conceive some time soon.


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