Folic acid is a very important vitamin and its levels need to be topped before pregnancy. Experts recommend that all women who are thinking about having a baby start taking folic acid. You can find acid folic in several different foods, as a drink or you ca take it as capsules in recommended doses. But the most important is to make sure you take enough folic acid for you and your baby.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a type of vitamin B that helps your body to produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer. Folic acid is also known as vitamin B9 and it is a very essential nutrient that’s particularly important in early pregnancy.
Why do I need folic acid in pregnancy?
Research has shown that a woman needs sufficiently high level of folic acid in her blood, during pregnancy for baby’s neural tube to close normally. Pregnant women with low blood levels of folic acid have a higher risk of having a spina bifida baby.
There is something else, too: normally folic acid is removed from the blood quite quickly, but when you are pregnant the kidneys filter it off quite quickly from the blood at four times the normal rate. So if you do not eat folic acid- rich foods or take folic acid supplements regularly you can become relatively deficient in folic acid and your levels may drop low enough to put your baby at risk.
It is a connection between folic acid and spina bifida?
It’s been proven to greatly reduce the risk of babies developing potentially serious brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida.
The medical definition of spina bifida is a defect in which part of one or more vertebrae fails to develop completely, leaving part of the spinal cord exposed. Spina bifida can happen anywhere in the spine but it is most common on the lower back. The severity depends on how much nervous tissue is exposed. The spine and the vertebral column develop from a flat layer cells whose edges come together to form a tube, which is the hallow cavity inside the spinal cord. This closure of the cord and the bones that surrounded it, the vertebrae, take place very early in development of an embryo, usually within 4 weeks of conception.
You can buy folic acid as a single supplement (folic acid pills), as part of a multivitamin or as drink (milk ) designed for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Natural ways to top up folic acid levels before and during pregnancy
Recently women are trying to have a balanced life based on exercise, healthy diet and trying to find the natural/ bio/ organic way for everything. If you are one of them then for sure you are not keen to take 1 or 2 pills every day for couple of months. Luckily you can get folic acid in various foods such:
• liver ( eat only about once a week)
• in green leafy vegetables- the darker green the better
• mushrooms , lime beans, kidney beans, whole-wheat bread, nuts, particularly walnuts, peas and beans
• fruit such as oranges, avocados and tomatoes, and fruit juices
• brown rice and other wholegrain
• yeast extract
• fortified breakfast cereals such as bran flakes
But if you are not sure you take enough folic acid before and during pregnancy eating foods with certain levels of folic acid, and you do not like taking tablets or capsules you can try nutritious folic acid milk drink available from pharmacies. One carton (about a glass full) contains your daily folic acid requirements before and during pregnancy.
Are taking folic acid supplement or is your diet rich in folic acid food?