Why is Folic Acid important for Conception and Pregnancy?
When you are trying to get pregnant, Folic acid should figure on top of
your health checklist. Folic acid, also called folate or folacin, is one of
the B vitamins, also known as B9. It is a vital raw material for production
of red blood cells, as well as norepinephrine and serotonin (chemical
components of the nervous system). Folic acid also helps to synthesize
genetic material in every cell of the body and normalize brain function.
Taking folic acid before conception reduces the risk of neural-tube defects
such as spina bifida.
Why do I need folic acid?
Folic acid is one of the few nutrients known to prevent neural tube birth
defects, such as spina bifida, which affects one in every 1,000 babies born
in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control report that women who
take the recommended daily dosage of folic acid reduce their baby's risk of
some types of birth defects by 50 percent. Women who don't get enough may
increase their chance of miscarriage or still births. Folate-deficiency
anemia and iron-deficiency anemia can have the same symptoms of fatigue and
weakness. A mild folate deficiency can also leave you grumpy or edgy.
How much Folic acid do I need?
The recommended daily intake of
for all women of childbearing age is at least 400 micrograms (mcg), or 0.4
milligrams (mg). During pregnancy, the recommended dose jumps up to 600 -
800 mcg, or 0.6 - 0.8 mg, a day. If you have a family history of
neural-tube defects, you should probably get 4,000 mcg (or 4 mg) of folic
acid a day. Most
contain the appropriate dosage of folic acid along with other vitamins that
will help you stay healthy.
Women who have had their first child with a neural tube defect have a
higher risk of having a second with the same defect. Healthcare providers
now advise these women to take at least 4 milligrams (mg) starting one
month before conception, if possible, and continuing through the first
three months of pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor about how much you need before and after you conceive.
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, so your body will flush out the
excess if you consume too much. For some women, there's an exception to
this rule: Getting too much folate may hide a B-12 deficiency, sometimes a
problem for vegetarians. Ask your doctor or midwife if you think you may be
Would a supplement be required?
A supplement will be a bonus. And eating plenty of folate rich foods won't
hurt either, especially if you can't stomach your prenatal vitamin early on
in your pregnancy due to morning sickness.
Which foods contain Folic acid?
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folate. And manufacturers are
now required by the FDA to add folic acid to enriched cereal grain products
such as flour, pasta, and rice. So replace the regular cereals with these
and add a bowl of fresh salad to your daily diet. Other sources of Folic
acid include, chicken liver, beef liver, lentils, wheat germ, spears,
asparagus, papaya, broccoli, cantaloupe, eggs, canned salmon.
See All LifeSource Vitamins Pre-Natal Multivitamin Products, Articles,
See All LifeSource Vitamins Folic Acid Products, Articles, and
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