FOLIC ACID AND PREGNANCY
Folic acid or vitamin B9 is necessary for the proper functioning of many enzymes and cell division. Its intake is important to everyone, and the need for it is doubled in pregnancy.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Folic acid is needed by both the baby and the mother. It protects the fetus from neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Its use is associated with a reduced risk of premature birth and other birth defects. Folic acid stimulates the formation of erythrocytes in the mother, thus preventing anemia.
WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE IT?
It takes some time to reach the optimal levels of folic acid in the body. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should start taking it 2-3 months before conception.
About 80% of pregnancies around the world are unplanned. Women find out that they are pregnant around the sixth gestational week when the fetal nervous system has begun its development. For this reason, experts advise that women of reproductive age should take a dietary supplement with folic acid. In the US, they deal with the problem by fortifying pastries with it.
HOW SHOULD YOU TAKE IT?
Some people carry a genetic mutation that makes metabolizing folic acid more difficult. The likelihood that you have this mutation should not scare you. All you have to do is choose supplements containing L-methylfolate.
Last but not least, the dose is important. Pregnant women need about 500 micrograms of folic acid daily, and may continue to take it during lactation. Many foods (spinach, nuts, beans, etc.) are rich in folic acid. Unfortunately, the amount needed is difficult to obtain through food, so choosing the right prenatal vitamins is essential.