The Role of Folic Acid in Pregnancy

The Role of Folic Acid in Pregnancy

When it comes to the vitamins that support a healthy pregnancy, you’ve likely heard about the importance of folic acid. The truth is, getting enough folic acid is important before and during pregnancy. If you are planning to get pregnant, go ahead and add a vitamin supplement with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid to your daily routine. If you are already expecting, the recommendations are increased to 600 micrograms of folic acid per day.

What Does Folic Acid Do for Your Baby?

Now that you know how much folic acid to get each day, it is important to understand exactly why your body needs it during an entire pregnancy. Did you know that folic acid is a vitamin that every cell in your body requires for healthy growth and development? When it comes to pregnancy, it plays a strong role in helping to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine in your baby.

Neural tube defects often present themselves in the very first month of pregnancy as the spinal column develops. This explains why it’s important to have enough folic acid in your body before you get pregnant. Studies show that if all women take 400 mcg of folic acid every day before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy, it may help prevent up to 7 in 10 (70 percent) NTDs. Additionally, research also points to the role of folic acid in preventing cleft lip and palate, which is another birth defect that occurs in the mouth or baby’s upper lip.

Ways to Get Folic Acid

While most women choose to guarantee their required folic acid intake with a supplement or vitamin. In fact, most every type of prenatal vitamin has folic acid. You can also get folic acid through your diet. Look for fortified foods or foods that contain folate, such as:

Have More Questions about Vitamins During Pregnancy?

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand the importance of good nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy. When it comes to protecting your baby from devastating neural tube defects, we strongly recommend getting your daily folic acid. Since nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned, it is a good idea for all women to pay attention to their folic acid intake, regardless of their pregnancy intentions. For more guidance on what to eat for a healthy baby, please call our Cumming clinic to schedule your consult.

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