Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9, and it is found in many foods, nutritional supplements, and fortified foods, and folic acid has a great importance in some vital processes in the body, such as the production of red blood cells, maintaining brain health, and preventing hair loss.
Pregnant women should consider taking nutritional supplements that contain folic acid before and during pregnancy to avoid some health problems and possible birth defects.
Benefits Of Folic Acid For Pregnant Women
A low level of folic acid in the body during pregnancy may cause the fetus to have some congenital anomalies as a result of not closing the neural tube properly, and this is called neural tube defects, and it includes two main health problems; The first is known as spina bifida, and is represented by the incomplete development of the spine or one of its vertebrae, and the second problem is known as anencephaly, which is the lack of development of the main parts of the brain. In fact, most children with anencephaly deformity die shortly after birth.
From the problem of fissures of the spine, some disabilities may accompany them for life, and it should be noted that obtaining the appropriate amounts of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of developing these deformities by a large percentage exceeding 50%.
The Dose Of Folic Acid During Pregnancy
The daily dose of folic acid during the first trimester should not be less than 400 micrograms, because neural tube defects often occur during this period of pregnancy, and it is worth stating that there are many cases in which these abnormalities occur during the first month of pregnancy, and because most pregnancies are not discovered until four to six weeks after conception; Organizations have recommended taking folic acid when planning pregnancy before it occurs.
The recommended dose before pregnancy and during the first months differs from the dose allocated to the last months of pregnancy, as it should be raised to 600 micrograms during the period between the fourth and ninth months of pregnancy. Neural tube defects during a previous pregnancy may need a higher dose of folic acid after consulting a doctor.
Natural Sources Of Folic Acid
There are many natural sources rich in folic acid, and dark green vegetables are the most rich sources of it, but it should be noted that you need to avoid cooking or heating these vegetables to high temperatures; As high heat may lead to the loss of a large part of this vitamin.
Best sources of folic acid :
- Vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, and peas.
- Grains, such as lentils and sunflower seeds.
- Milk and egg yolk.
- The kidneys and liver are of some types of animals, and it should be noted the need to avoid eating animal livers in large quantities during pregnancy.
- Fruits, such as kiwi, orange, and papaya.