Folic acid is essential during pregnancy. It belongs to the B group of vitamins and among its functions is to prevent some congenital malformations in the fetus.
In this post, we are going to offer you all the information you need to know about folic acid in pregnancy: when and how to take it, and the benefits it brings, the foods richest in it, and the recommended daily dose in each situation.
When should you start taking folic acid?
Folic acid intake is recommended to take it before pregnancy constantly, at least one month before conception, and it should be maintained – at least – until the twelfth week of gestation.
That is why you must consult a specialist, he will know what dose is recommended in your specific case.
How much folic acid is needed?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women of childbearing age take a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. A higher amount should not be taken unless specifically prescribed by our physician.
This recommendation is due to the high number of unplanned pregnancies that occur worldwide, about 44% of the total according to a study published by The Lancet Global Health.
Benefits of Folic Acid
The benefits of folic acid during pregnancy are varied, but they are mainly related to the prevention of malformations in the central nervous system of the fetus.
Folic acid is indispensable for the right development of the neural tube, the part of the embryo from which both the brain and the spinal cord develop. Thus, a deficit of this vitamin is closely related to the appearance of problems such as spina bifida and an open spine or anencephaly.
Besides, the WHO states that its consumption during pregnancy is related to a reduction in the risk of anemia, a very common pathology in pregnant women since it is related to the production of red blood cells.
Foods rich in folic acid
Folic acid can be consumed through food supplements if your doctor thinks so, but it is also present in many foods. Legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, or chard are some of the products with enough amount of folic acid.
We recommend that you consult your family doctor about the suitability of taking folic acid during pregnancy or including it in your diet before it occurs. He or she will offer you the best advice depending on your specific situation.