Did you know folic acid deficiency during your pregnancy can affect the brain development of your growing baby? Folic acid is very important for women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant.
Folic acid plays a very important role in preventing neural tube defects in a baby. A deficiency of this vital acid can cause conditions, like spina bifida and brain defects in the unborn child. A neural tube defect (NTD) can occur at any time during the pregnancy. A report shows that nearly 3,000 pregnancies in the United States are affected with folic acid deficiency every year. Pregnant women have to understand the importance of folic acid and it benefits for their unborn child.
The body needs folic acid to produce normal blood cells and also to prevent anemia. For a fetus, which is in the process of making blood cells, folic acid plays a vital role. It is essential for repairing and functioning of the DNA. It is the main building block of the body cells. That is why pregnant women should not avoid their pre-natal vitamins.
Benefits of Folic Acid During Pregnancy
- Folic acid aids in the healthy neural development of the fetus. It is responsible for preventing several neural defects like Down’s syndrome, spinal cord disorders, and diseases like spina bifida.
- Folic acid aids in the birth of a healthy baby, with good blood count. It also plays a role in the weight gain process of the unborn child.
- It can help prevent conditions like cleft lip and deformities in a fetus.
- Folic acid builds up the blood cells and other body cells in the fetus.
- It prevents anaemia in the unborn child and the mother during pregnancy.
- Folic acid helps in better iron absorption for the mother and the unborn child.
- It helps in the digestion process and prevents the pregnant woman from IBS and other digestive disorders that can be harmful for the fetus.
- Folic acid increases the brain development in the child and also prevents congenital heart diseases.
- It aids in the proper limb development of the fetus.
- It also strengthens the immune system of the mother and helps in development of the immune system of the unborn child.
Folic acid can help in combating even genetic disorders related to the brain. Even if a person has a family history of NTD, it can be prevented by folic acid. The chances of the unborn child getting the genetic defect are lowered when the mother has sufficient folic acid during pregnancy. The biggest benefit of this B complex vitamin is for the brain of the unborn fetus.
Natural Sources of Folic Acid
Folic acid forms an essential part of the prenatal vitamins. However, a pregnant woman also can derive the benefits of folic acid from many natural food sources. Many vegetables and fruits contain folic acid that is better absorbed by the body. Some of the food items that are rich in folic acid include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat germ
- All fresh fruits
How Much Folic Acid Should You Take?
The daily recommended dosage of folic acid for a woman is 2.5 grams. This daily dosage can help the fetus and mother to maintain good health. A strong immune system is very important for a pregnant woman during pregnancy. With the right amount of folic acid in their body, they can prevent several infections and illnesses that can occur during pregnancy.
Make sure you consult your doctor to find out what is the right dosage of folic acid for you if you are pregnant.