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Benefits of folic acid in pregnancy

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Pregnancy is a process that practically all women go through when they seek to start a family. This process includes the development of a new life inside that, due to the sensitivity of the process itself, needs to be in an optimal environment with all its needs covered to avoid complications or alterations. This means that the woman must be cautious concerning her health, and, in addition, it is essential to prevent any alteration that may affect her or her baby during pregnancy. As part of this prevention, the doctors in charge of monitoring this process recommend consuming vitamin supplements, such as folic acid. This vitamin fulfills essential functions within the body and is necessary to maintain a good state of health for both mother and baby. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain everything about the benefits of folic acid in pregnancy so that you understand the importance of consuming this supplement during this delicate stage of your life.

What is folic acid

Folic acid or vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin required for protein production and hemoglobin. Therefore, the same as many other vitamins is very important to live a healthy life. It is the synthetic form of folate and fulfills many functions, especially the production of new cells and acting on the growth of tissues.

Folic acid is necessary before and during pregnancy, and its consumption prevents genetic alterations and reduces the chances of miscarriage.

What are the benefits of folic acid in pregnancy?

The benefits of folic acid in pregnancy are many, and for this reason, doctors recommend its consumption before and during the fertile state. The consumption of folic acid before pregnancy prevents deformations of the placenta and, with this, prevents abortion and defects in the brain (anencephaly), as well as spina bifida, being an alteration that affects the spine producing paralysis of the lower part of the human body, all this because the neural tube, which is the part of the embryo from which the brain develops, and the spinal cord are altered. This is why it is recommended that women take folic acid before thinking about getting pregnant because these alterations occur at a very early stage.

Folic acid also has the benefit of helping create red blood cells and preventing anemia and can also help fight this disease when it occurs. It acts in the production and functioning of DNA; that is, it has a cellular function that allows the developing baby.

The consumption of folic acid during pregnancy reduces the risk of congenital disorders in the baby, such as cleft lip or heart disorders, and reduces preeclampsia.

Folic acid deficiency causes diarrhea, mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers, and growth retardation, among others. Another possible alteration that manages to avoid the consumption of folic acid in pregnant women is the loss of bowel and bladder control.

How to take folic acid in pregnancy

Folic acid can be consumed naturally in a proper diet of food, and, in general, it is scarce to see deficiencies, except in cases of significant nutritional deficiencies. More foods rich in folic acid include:

  • Lentils
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Animal entrails
  • Almonds
  • Whole grains

Another way to find folic acid is in vitamin complexes; women should consume it daily in doses of 400 mcg at least one month before becoming pregnant.

In other cases, doctors recommend consuming 800 to 1000 mcg; however, it all depends on the dose recommended by the treating physician (gynecologist) and the label on the container of the vitamin complex.

There are cases in which additional folic acid must be taken, such as obese women or if there was a previous case of pregnancy in which the baby had suffered some alteration of the neural tube. The additional consumption of vitamin B9 is also recommended in diabetic women or women with epilepsy who take their respective medicines since they are more prone to suffer from neural tube alteration during pregnancy.

Very rarely, there have been cases of women who have a genetic mutation in their body called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, in which the absorption of folic acid is problematic, thus justifying the prescription of folic acid by the doctor.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar on the Benefits of folic acid in pregnancy, we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category.

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