Folic Acid & Pregnancy-The Relation
Folate; which includes folic acid and vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient for healthy living. The recommended intake being 400 micrograms in the US; this dosage of folic acid can be applicable to the world over. The benefits of folic acid extend to prevention of heart disease, strokes, cancer and psychological issues; however, this article aims to concentrate on the benefits of folic acid for pregnant women and child at the fetal and infantile stage. This article is an in-depth look at the various benefits of regular and appropriate dosage of folic acid supplementation for pregnant women, the relationship between pregnancy and folic acid and the documented positive impacts folic acid has on the development of a growing fetus. Read further to know more about pregnancy and its relation with folic acid.
Folic Acid Triggers the Production of Red Blood Cells
Anemia is a widespread health issue for pregnant mothers around the world. Anemia during pregnancy comes with various complications, such as reduced birth weight of a baby, premature birth and has even proven to be fatal for pregnant mothers. Folic acid has a significant role to play in the prevention and management of anemia during the pregnancy as folate triggers the production of red blood cells and maintains an appropriate RBC count. This is of vital importance to both mother and child.
Folic Acid helps in Fetal Growth and Development
The positive culmination of the nine month gestation period for pregnant women is the birth of a healthy infant and folic acid goes a long way in making this possible. The neural development of a fetus is largely dependent upon appropriate dosage of folic acid for pregnant mothers. Folic acid forms a protective shield around the neural tube of the fetus; the very same tube that develops into the spinal cord and brain of a fully formed infant. The development of the central nervous system of an infant is largely governed by folic acid.
Folic Acid Has Multiple Benefits for the Growing Fetus
Folic acid and folate in general has additional benefits for the growing fetus that are truly indispensible. All round growth and development of a baby owing to appropriate folate supplementation for the mother during the gestation phase is well documented. Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy has the following benefits:
Reduced Risk of Spina Bifida which is a congenital abnormality in which the spinal cord development in the prenatal stage is incomplete. Spina Bifida results in crippling disabilities and folic acid has a significant role to play in its prevention.
Reduced chances of cleft lip and palate are other examples of infant development benefits of folic acid supplementation in pregnancy. Cleft lip and palate in infants are common infant development problems in poor and third world countries where maternal healthcare is not standardized and women are prone to folate deficiencies.
Premature birth largely contributes to infant mortality and developmental delays and disabilities. Appropriate folic acid supplementation for pregnant mothers can largely reduce the risk of premature birth.
Folic acid has a direct contribution towards healthy baby weight, in the womb growth and largely prevents miscarriages. Read further to know more about folic acid and it relation to pregnancy.
Benefits of Folic Acid for Pregnant Mothers
Folic acid supplementation not only benefits the fetus and regulates development, but also supports the physical wellbeing of pregnant women. Pregnancy related complications can result in much trauma and suffering for expecting mothers; however, appropriate folic acid supplementation largely reduces the risk of pregnancy complications and miscellaneous health risks such as:
- Cardiac Disease.
- Various Cancers.
It is easy to see how folic acid supplementation before, during and post pregnancy has multiple health benefits for women.
When To Start Taking Folic Acid And In What Dosage?
Folic acid supplementation should be taken as soon as the mother plans to start a family and get pregnant. Your doctor is most likely to echo this important fact that pretty much determines the health of your baby and your comfort and wellbeing as a pregnant woman from the get-go. Folic acid dosage before, during and post pregnancy is also subject to change and the generally accepted dosage measures are as follows:
- 400 Mcg during the pre-pregnancy stage
- 400 Mcg during the first trimester of pregnancy
- 600 Mcg during the second and third trimester of pregnancy
- 500 Mcg during the breastfeeding stage
In conclusion; it is important to note that the body does not retain extra folic acid and what cannot be used is dispelled via urine. This fact weighs in on the importance of regular and appropriate dosage of folic acid in pregnancy. As is evident from the information provided above; folic acid supplementation and its benefits is not restricted to the pregnancy. Folic acid supplementation and its benefits commence pre-pregnancy and extend beyond childbirth and into the breastfeeding stage also.