Why folic acid in pregnancy

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential for the development of a baby’s brain and spine. It is especially important during the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the neural tube is forming. The neural tube is the precursor to the brain and spinal cord, and if it does not close properly, it can lead to serious birth defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

Folic acid helps to prevent these birth defects by ensuring that the neural tube closes properly. It also helps to prevent other pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and low birth weight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. This can be done through a daily supplement or by eating foods that are naturally high in folic acid, such as dark leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals.

It is important to start taking folic acid before you get pregnant. This is because the neural tube begins to form even before you know you are pregnant. If you are planning to get pregnant, it is a good idea to start taking a folic acid supplement at least three months before you start trying to conceive.

If you are already pregnant, it is still important to get enough folic acid. You can continue taking a daily supplement or increase your intake of foods that are naturally high in folic acid.

Folic acid is an important nutrient for women of childbearing age. By getting enough folic acid, you can help to prevent serious birth defects and ensure that your baby has a healthy start in life.

Here are some additional benefits of folic acid for pregnancy:

  • Reduces the risk of miscarriage.
  • Helps to prevent anemia.
  • May improve cognitive development in the baby.
  • May reduce the risk of premature birth.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about how much folic acid you need. They can help you make sure that you are getting enough of this important nutrient.

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