Folic Acid & Your Pregnancy

National Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 8 – 14. Whether the idea of a baby is a joyful thought or a scary one, all women should know about folic acid. Folic acid is very important for women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Folic acid (folate or vitamin B9) is essential in the development of DNA for a new baby. Folic acid is an essential vitamin for your body as well.Pregnant five months

Benefits of Folic Acid

  • May prevent  birth defects of the brain and spine
  • Up to 70% of neural tube defects can be prevented
  • Lowers the risk for cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain heart defects
  • There are many other general health benefits for women

How much folic acid do women need?
Many foods contain B-vitamin or folic acid. However, most women do not get enough in their regular diet. All women should take a vitamin supplement to reach the 400 mg/day necessary for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Who needs folic acid?
All women of childbearing age should get enough folic acid, as many pregnancies are unplanned or unexpected. Women should get the 400 mg before conception and during early pregnancy for it to be effective at protecting against birth defects. Women of Hispanic and Latin heritage are especially likely to have low folic acid and should make efforts to get the recommended dosage.

Sources of folic acid and folate

  • Lentils
  • dried beans,
  • dark, leafy, green vegetables
  • citrus fruit and juice
  • Your body absorbs folic acid in vitamin form best, so always take a supplement in addition to a healthy diet

Remember that you’re eating to enrich two lives, even before you get pregnant. All women should get plenty of folic acid. Regional Medical Center is here to help you live healthy for yourself and your future family; visit us online to read more about folic acid.  Call our free Consult-a-Nurse service if would like more information about pregnancy and folic acid.

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