The Importance of Folic Acid Intake During Pregnancy

To stay fit and healthy and enjoy a life free from medical conditions, our body requires to be supplied with essential nutrients. Women when they become pregnant cannot afford to neglect the intake of foods that are rich in essential nutrients as they now are also responsible for the healthy development of the babies that they are carrying.

During her pregnancy a woman has to make adjustments with her eating ways and endorse a recommended pregnancy diet plan which contains all the essential nutrients in right proportion. And one of the most important essential nutrients is folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin which can be sourced from the food that we eat. Green leafy vegetables are rich source folic acid. However, to be on the safer side, pregnant women are advised to take folic acid supplements.

Intake of folic acid supplements can be started months before you plan to get conceived. An intake of 800 micrograms of folic acid is recommended during this stage. Once you have conceived, you can increase the intake by another 200 micrograms.

According to a study, 88 percent of Americans lack in folic acid. This is quite an alarming fact. If you develop a deficiency for this vitamin, it can expose your baby to health risks, sometimes severe. One such condition can be Spina Bifida. It is a type of birth defect wherein the baby is born with exposed nerves and open spines, meaning these are formed outside of the baby’s body. As a result, the nerves become damages and leads to paralyses. Such birth defects have been linked with lack of folic acid in women during their pregnancies.

It is also important to start taking a supplement containing folic acid even before you become pregnant. Spina Bifida can develop in the baby from the very early phase of pregnancy. As such, by the time you discover your pregnancy, it may be too late to prevent the condition from developing. So start taking the supplement few months before you plan your pregnancy.

Apart from folic acid, iron and calcium are the other nutrients which you cannot afford to neglect during pregnancy.