All pregnant women are advised to take certain things for a healthy pregnancy. One of them is folic acid. Folic acid is beneficial as it is essential for the performance of many functions of the body. Pregnant ladies need folic acid to stay healthy and it plays a significant role for the growing babies in the uterus.
Folic acid is Vitamin B that helps in the production of red blood cell and its division. The problem of anemia is prevented by the intake of folic acid. The lack of folic acid in the body may lead to some serious birth defects like Spina bifida and. In spina bifida, the incomplete development of the spinal cord or the vertebrae take place and in the anencephaly, incomplete development of major parts of the brain takes place.
Importance of Folic Acid in Pregnancy
Folic acid plays a significant role in the development of the neural tube. It helps in the development of the brain and spinal cord of the growing fetus. It helps to prevent the complications of pregnancy. The risks of premature labor and preeclampsia are reduced with the help of folic acid.
Folic acid is also known by some other names like folate, vitamin M, vitamin B9, vitamin B, pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate and pteroylmonoglutamic acid. It is a soluble water vitamin B9.Though it is not biologically active but it plays a biological role due to the importance of tetrahydrofoltae and other derivatives in it as folic acid becomes dihydrofolic acid in the liver. This is very important for the normal functioning of the body. It helps to synthesize, repair and methylate DNA. It helps in many biological reactions of the body.
Time to Take Folic Acid
The first thing that the doctor advises you after detecting your pregnancy is to start taking a folic acid supplement. The intake of folic acid should be started before conceiving and continued throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
Some doctors advise you to take it for the initial three months of pregnancy. But the longer folic acid is taken better it is for the baby and the mother. At least 400 mcg of folic acid in a day should be taken. The intake of folic acid should be increased if you had neural tube defects in the first pregnancy.
Foods Rich in Folic Acid
Some foods that are rich in folic acid should be taken. The foods that have high levels of folic acid are asparagus, bananas, oranges, broccoli, spinach and peas. The intake of these foods in your diet will definitely give you a good outcome.
Risks Associated with Deficiency of Folic Acid
The deficiency of folic acid acts as a threat to the mother and the growing baby in the uterus. If folic acid is taken before or during the pregnancy then it protects the baby from the problem of cleft lip and palate,premature labor, low birth weight of the baby, chances of miscarriage at a later stage and poor growth of the baby in the uterus. Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of complications of pregnancy, heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.