Pregnancy is the most precious event in any women’s life. Just few days before anxious pregnant lady visited our clinic with overcrowding of thoughts in her mind. She wanted to know what all she needs to eat to keep her baby healthy. Her doctor has advised her to buy folic acid supplements for first few months, but she was clueless about what is folic acid and benefits of folic acid supplementation. So lets discuss this in detail.
Need for Folic Acid During Pregnancy:
Folic acid is one if the type of Vitamin B. Naturally it occurs in various food ingredients such as Pulses and Green Leafy Vegetables and many more. During or before pregnancy Folic acid is essential for Red Blood cell formation, DNA development and also very important for Brain development. Various food sources for Folic acid can be included in our daily routine along with the supplements.
Most of the times women complain of inconvenience caused due to supplementation. But it is difficult to achieve requirements alone through daily balanced diet so need for supplementation rises. But this inconvenience is manageable than to see your child sufferings.
Requirement during Pregnancy:
If you are planning to have child or if you are in your first trimester it is essential to take 4 mg of Folic acid supplement along with your dietary folic acid. This will particularly beneficial for you to avoid miscarriages during first few months. So one should start taking supplements three months before conceiving and continue till first 3 months of lactation to prevent neural damage in your child. Also taking multivitamin and multimineral supplement along with folic acid is must during pregnancy to provide total good nutrition to baby and mother.
Why it is Important:
1. Folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of developing severe birth defects for your unborn child. It helps in reducing incidence by almost 50-70 percent.
2. It not only prevents neural tube defects but also beneficial in defects like cleft palate, urinary tract defects and also in case of congenital heart defects.
4. Its primary role is to prevent neural tube defects which harms you baby’s spinal cord and brain. These are most commonly seen in baby’s early development i.e first four weeks after conception.
Neural Tube Defects:
Most commonly seen neural tube defects are, Spina bifida, Anencephaly and encephalocele.
1. Spina Bifida – It is an incomplete closure of Spinal cord of spinal column. This can cause paralysis in lower bodies and can affect learning abilities.
2. Anencephaly – It is the severe underdevelopment of baby’s brain. Most of the times baby’s do not survive more than a few days after birth.
3. Encephalocele – Abnormal skull opening is seen which protrudes abnormal brain tissue through skin. Survival rate among these babies is also very less than few days of life.
As according to statistics only 50% of pregnancies are planned, women of child bearing age should start taking folic acid supplements as soon as possible to have healthy pregnancy.
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