how much folic acid during pregnancy?

(July 7, 2010)

Folic Acid In Pregnancy

While being pregnant, women should pay special attention to their diet as the baby’s physical and mental development is completely dependent on their mother’s intake of food. Folic acid is one of the most important minerals that need to be consumed by pregnant women to prevent any serious birth defects in the child. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is found abundantly in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, enriched grains, orange juice. Folic acid if consumed in adequate quantities during pregnancy helps keep away any serious neural tube defects which is a birth defect that is caused due to an incomplete development of the spinal cord and the brain. The most commonly observed neural tube defects on account of a deficiency of folic acid in babies are spina bifida, anencephale and encephalocele. Folic acid during pregnancy is also required by the mother to prevent anemia by producing red blood cells. Folic acid is also known to help in the production, repair and overall smooth functioning of the DNA in the baby which is the basic building block of cells. In some cases it has been observed that folic acid also reduces the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy which would otherwise adversely affect the health of the mother and the child.

Most women are recommended to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid everyday during the pregnancy and even at least a month before they are trying to get pregnant. Once the pregnancy is consumed, women may increase either daily intake of folic acid to 600 micrograms. Women who have already been prescribed pre natal vitamins need not take too much of folic acid separately as the pre natal vitamins will also consist of a sufficient does of folic acid. Similarly those pregnant women who have a vitamin B 12 deficiency consuming too much folic acid may mask an existing condition known as pernicious anemia.  Some natural sources of folic acid are spinach, broccoli, okra, turnip greens, and citrus fruits, asparagus. These foods need to be incorporated into the diet of a pregnant woman. Some foods that are synthetic sources of folic acid are grain products and other enriched cereals. For some strange reason it has been observed that the human body tends to absorb folic acid from synthetic sources better than form natural sources. Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women can be identified via symptoms such as a sore tongue, weakness, palpitations, headaches and overall irritability.

Submitted by P T on July 7, 2010 at 02:06

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