Folic acid or folate is necessary for cell growth and reproduction. While it is crucial to take folic acid during your pregnancy, taking it even before you conceive can help reduce the chances of neural tube defects. It plays an important role in taking care of your baby’s neural tubes that develops in the brain and spinal cord.
Benefits of taking folic acid before pregnancy
Several women have low dietary folate intake and do not use folic acid supplements. It is best to start taking folic acid a few months before you plan to conceive. It helps to protect your fetus against diseases. Here is why folic acid before pregnancy is essential:
- It helps to prevent miscarriage, avoids complications and birth defects.
- Neural tube defects (NTDs) including spina bifida (a congenital defect in which the vertebra is malformed) and anencephaly (a defect in brain development resulting in small or missing brain hemispheres) can be avoided.
- Dietary fortification with folic acid supplements reduces the occurrence of neural tube defects and other congenital anomalies by preventing nutritional deficiency.
- Folic acid deficiency increases the risk of preterm delivery and increases homocysteine levels in your blood, which may lead to unprompted abortion and pregnancy complications.
- Folic acid is required for healthy development of your cells and protection from any damage.
In general, most pregnancies are unplanned and in order to prevent certain birth defects, it may be a good idea to start taking folic acid supplements in advance. Most doctors advice taking folic acid supplements three months before you start trying to conceive, and then again for the first three months of pregnancy.
How much Folic Acid to take
It is recommended that all women who are capable of conception should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day before the pregnancy. Take the supplements 12 weeks into the pregnancy to prevent a range of NTDs. Women who have health issues such as diabetes, epilepsy, etc. may need a higher dose of folic acid. See the doctors at KIMS Cuddles to find out the right amount of folic acid for your need.
There are many natural foods that are good sources of folates. Yet, if you are planning to conceive or are pregnant, it is better to take folic acid supplements to be on the safer side. Talk to our experts at KIMS Cuddles to know more about the benefits of folic acid.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.