Pregnancy is an exciting and special time filled with joy and anticipation. You’re growing a tiny human inside of you, which is pretty incredible when you think about it! And, as your body changes, it’s important to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients to support your and your baby’s health.
Learn More About All The Nutrients That A Woman Needs In Pregnancy.
One such ingredient is folic acid. Folic acid in pregnancy is of utmost importance, as it promises optimum health for you and your baby.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including cell growth and development. Folic acid in pregnancy is particularly important, as it can help prevent serious birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine.
Folic acid is a vital nutrient for pregnant women, and getting enough of it can have significant health benefits for both the mom and the baby.
What Are The Benefits Of Folic Acid For Women In General?
What Is The Difference Between Folic Acid And Folate?
Folic acid and folate are both forms of vitamin B9 essential for healthy cell growth and development. However, there is a difference between the two.
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in foods like leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits. On the other hand, folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 that is often used in supplements and fortified foods.
While folate and folic acid have similar effects on the body, they are metabolized differently. The body absorbs folate directly, while folic acid must be converted into the active form of vitamin B9 before it can be used.
Regarding folic acid in pregnancy, both forms of vitamin B9 are essential for the healthy development of the baby’s brain and spine. However, folic acid is often recommended over folate because the body more easily absorbs it and can be better regulated by supplements and fortified foods.
What Is The Recommended Amount Of Folic Acid In Pregnancy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all women of childbearing age should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. In comparison, the recommended amount of folic acid in pregnancy is 600 micrograms to support fetal growth. Additionally, women who have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect may be advised to take a higher dosage of folic acid under the guidance of their healthcare provider. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), folic acid is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of birth defects.
It is important to note that many prenatal vitamins like Prenate contain the recommended amount of folic acid. Meanwhile, there are many exclusive folic acid supplements like QFolic also available. Ensuring adequate folic acid intake during pregnancy is a simple and effective way to promote a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of birth defects.
What Is The Importance Of Folic Acid In Pregnancy
Folic acid is a crucial nutrient often recommended for pregnant women or planning to conceive. This B vitamin plays a vital role in the healthy development of the fetus and can offer a range of benefits for both the mother and baby.
1. Folic Acid And Neural Tube Defects
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious birth defects that affect the brain, spine, or spinal cord of developing fetuses. It has been well-established that folic acid, a B vitamin, plays a critical role in the prevention of NTDs in early pregnancy.
Research shows that the risk of NTDs can be reduced by up to 70% when women consume adequate amounts of folic acid before and during early pregnancy. Research also shows that periconceptional folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of NTDs by 70%.
However, despite the widespread knowledge regarding the importance of folic acid intake in pregnancy, there is still a high prevalence of NTDs worldwide. Public health reviews suggest that current guidelines for folic acid intake may be insufficient, and a higher dose of folic acid may be necessary to prevent NTDs effectively.
2. Folic Acid And Brain Development
One of the most significant benefits of folic acid is its impact on brain development. Folic acid is essential for forming the neural tube, which develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord. It also plays a vital role in the growth of new cells, including brain cells.
Studies have shown that folic acid supplementation during pregnancy can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of developmental delays in children. Children born to mothers who take folic acid supplements during pregnancy have higher cognitive scores at ages 3 and 7 than children whose mothers do not take supplements. Moreover, folic acid supplementation during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of language delays in children. As per research, folic acid has also been linked to a reduced risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children.
In conclusion, folic acid in pregnancy plays a crucial role in brain development. Supplementing with folic acid can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of developmental delays and autism spectrum disorder in children.
3. Preventing Birth Defects With Folic Acid
Folic acid is an important nutrient during pregnancy, and its benefits are not limited to preventing neural tube defects. Other birth defects such as heart defects, cleft lip, and cleft palate have also been linked to a deficiency in folic acid in pregnancy.
Studies have shown that women who take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy have a lower risk of giving birth to babies with these types of birth defects. Women who take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy have a 40% lower risk of giving birth to babies with heart defects compared to those who do not take folic acid supplements.
Similarly, research shows that women taking folic acid supplements during early pregnancy have a lower risk of having babies with cleft lip and palate. Studies suggest that folic acid plays a crucial role in the early development of the face and palate and that a deficiency in this nutrient could lead to these birth defects in the baby.
4. Folic Acid And Reduced Risk Of Misccariages
Research shows that women who take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy have a reduced risk of miscarriage compared to those who do not take folic acid supplements. There is a 50% lower risk of early miscarriage in women who take folic acid supplements for at least six months before pregnancy and a 70% lower risk of early miscarriage in women who take folic acid supplements for at least one year before pregnancy.
While the exact mechanism by which folic acid reduces the risk of miscarriage is not yet fully understood, it is thought to be related to its role in DNA synthesis and repair and its antioxidant properties.
There is no denying the importance of folic acid in pregnancy. It ensures optimum foetal development and prevention of miscarriages. Unlike many other nutrients, folic acid during pregnancy is quite easy to take. Supplements like QFolic have a fourth generation of folate, i.e. Quatrefolic. It promises superior absorption, higher bioavailability, & better utilization.