As an expectant mom, your health is as important as that of your child. Making sure you're healthy will help you have a healthy baby. The majority of the vitamins and minerals you require during pregnancy can be obtained by eating a healthy, varied diet. There are some supplements, such as folic acid, iron, protein, vitamins, etc., that you would be advised to take in addition to eating the right diet.
In this article, we will be shedding light on the supplement folic acid. If you want to know when to start and when to stop taking folic acid during pregnancy, then this article is for you.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, a B vitamin. Since it helps to prevent abnormal births, folate is essential for everyone, but it is particularly crucial during pregnancy. Folate aids in the development of your baby's neural tube, which becomes their brain and spinal cord, as well as the synthesis of red blood cells. Cereals that have been fortified are the finest sources of folic acid. Dark green veggies and citrus fruits naturally contain folate.
When to Start Taking Folic Acid
Folic acid supplements should be taken before conception attempts by anyone who wants to get pregnant. This is due to the fact that birth abnormalities usually manifest within the first 3–4 weeks of pregnancy, frequently before a person is even aware that they are expecting. Since your baby's brain and spinal cord are developing in those early stages, it's crucial to have folate in your system. It is advised to start taking folic acid daily for at least a month before trying to conceive. The daily use of folic acid is advised for all women who are of reproductive age. So it would be okay for you to begin taking it even sooner.
How long should I take folic acid during pregnancy?
It is recommended that you take a daily folic acid supplement for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Folic acid supplements can help prevent neural tube disorders like spina bifida if taken regularly beginning in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
When to stop taking Folic Acid during pregnancy
You no longer need to take folic acid because the neural tube should have closed by 12 weeks for the baby. However, continuing to take it during your pregnancy is not dangerous. Eating fresh, green, leafy vegetables can also help you maintain a diet high in folic acid and other beneficial elements for developing babies. It's acceptable if you like to take a pregnancy supplement for the entire nine months. Just make sure it is one designed for pregnancy, as it's not recommended to take some vitamins in excessive doses while you're expecting.
What dosage of folic acid should I take?
All women of reproductive age should consume 400 mcg of folate every day. If you take one, verify that your daily multivitamin has the required quantity. Folic acid pills are an option if you decide against taking a multivitamin for whatever reason.
The daily folic acid recommendation during pregnancy is as follows:
- 400 mcg while you're attempting to conceive.
- 400 mcg during the first three months of pregnancy.
- 600 mcg during months four to nine of pregnancy.
What if my pregnancy is already more than 12 weeks along?
While studies suggest that folic acid might lessen the possibility that your unborn child will experience neural tube abnormalities (NTDs), which include spina bifida, which affects the brain and spinal cord. However, it is not at all true that kids born to moms who didn't take folic acid will inevitably have these problems. As an alternative, taking the supplement just lowers the risk. So, if you haven't already heard, the message is to not worry. Talk to your midwife or doctor if you are more than 12 weeks pregnant and ask for advice on a decent multivitamin regimen or dietary modifications that will keep you and your unborn child healthy for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Can food provide enough folic acid?
Many foods, such as leafy greens, beets, and broccoli, naturally contain folate. The recommended amount of folic acid is present in several portions of breakfast cereal that have been fortified. Even so, unless you keep track of the levels of folic acid and folate in every meal, it could be difficult to tell precisely how much you're getting. You can't be sure you'll consume enough folic acid from your diet alone, so a supplement is crucial. Early in pregnancy, morning sickness can make it challenging to consume enough fortified foods to meet your folic acid needs.
Doctors often advise patients to take folic acid supplements or prenatal vitamins containing folic acid before and during pregnancy to ensure adequate folic acid intake.
What if I overlook taking a day's worth of folic acid?
Do not fret anymore. It's quite unlikely that skipping one or more days of taking your folic acid supplement will have an impact because you'll be building up a healthy amount of folic acid. Simply resume your one-a-day regimen; don't take multiple doses at once to make up for missed days.
Everybody needs folic acid, but it is more crucial during pregnancy. When you want to start having children, it's never too early to start taking folic acid. Folic acid consumption is crucial throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to save your unborn child from preterm birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and inadequate womb expansion.
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