Folic acid or folate is a water soluble form of vitamin B9. When taken during and before pregnancy it prevents serious birth defects.
If you have been planning to conceive or have recently discovered that you are pregnant, it is important for you to increase the intake of folic acid i.e. make it at least up to 400 mcg. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), taking folic acid on a daily basis can prevent seventy percent of brain, spine and other neural tube defects (NTDs).
Folic acid facilitates normal cellular development of the unborn baby. Many women don’t realise the importance of regular folic intake before and during pregnancy. According to a study, women with deficiency of folic acid are at two to three time higher the risk of delivering a premature baby.
Birth defects usually occur in the initial four weeks of pregnancy. Most women don't even realise that they are pregnant in the first few weeks and therefore, end up missing on their required amount of folic acid consumption. If you are one of these women, it is essential to talk to your obstetrician and know what quantity of folate you need to have.
Other foods that have folic acid include oatmeal, broccoli, corn, enriched pastas and breads, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, lima beans, sprouts, orange juice and avocados.
Folic acid empowers a woman with enough iron to take her through the 9 months of pregnancy. Considering that a pregnant woman needs more nutrients than what was required before she got pregnant, keeping a close watch of nutrient intake is important.
Read more articles on Pregnancy Diet.