Folic Acid and the Pregnancy

Although it has been an accepted and obvious fact to all, many women are still unaware about the importance of the folic acid during pregnancy.

Folic acid is a member in the water soluble B vitamin group. It is very important for everyone in that it is needed for proper health and growth, but its importance increases for women, especially those who planning to have a baby.

There is great relation between the folic acid (FA) and the pregnancy; pregnant women should take their supplements before and during the pregnancy as the decrease in FA has been proven to be the cause of many disorders for both mother and the fetus.

Should I get folic acid before the pregnancy?

Yes, you should for many reasons.

First - FA is very important for you to help the synthesis of the red blood cells. The decrease of these cells can cause megaloablastic anemia. So you should get your requirements even without pregnancy.

Second - The placental transport of the folic acid occurs after the placental receptor saturation occurs, and when the infant requirements are high, so it is important that you should have good level in your blood.

Also this acid is responsible for the protein metabolism and the cell division, and in the process of the cells development. Especially as the neural cells and the infant development occurs rapidly even before you realise that you are pregnant. So you should provide the FA from the beginning of the pregnancy,

One of the most common abnormalities, which show the relation between the FA and the pregnancy and affect your baby due to the acid deficiency, is the neural tube defect(NTD) which causes spina bifida, nerve damage, lower limb paralysis, and learning disabilities. There is much research that shows the effect of the folic acid on the pregnancy. There is a relationship between the deficiency of FA and the occurrence of NTD. Although not all cases with neural tube defect were caused by the small amount of folic acid, the studies have shown that the mothers of babies with NTD had a smaller amount of FA and those with increased amounts showed a protective effect.

What is the folic acid pregnancy dosage?

To decrease the risk of the neural tube defect occurrence, the women who are planning to have a baby should increase their dose of FA in their supplements. The usual dose for non pregnant women be about 400 mg per day and once the pregnancy occurs the minimal dose should be higher than 600 mg per day. The high risk women, who have past history of the NTD, should have a large dose according to their doctor's advice.

Pregnant women should have foods that contain FA. Although it is difficult to get the all the requirements from food only, you can get FA supplements with the naturally FA rich foods. The richest FA foods are the green leafy vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, and nuts.