𝐑𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 & 𝐝𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐲
What Is Folic Acid?
It is a folate B vitamin. It plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby’s neural tube develop into her brain and spinal cord.
When Should I Start Taking Folic Acid?
Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important to have folic acid in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.
The CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age take folic acid every day.
How Much Folic Acid Should I Take?
The recommended dose for all women of childbearing age is 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
What Are the Benefits of Folic Acid?
Without enough folic acid in your body, your baby’s neural tube may not close correctly and she could develop health problems called neural tube defects. These include:
- Spina bifida: incomplete development of the spinal cord or the vertebrae
- Anencephaly: incomplete development of major parts of the brain
Babies with anencephaly usually do not live long, and those with spina bifida may be permanently disabled. The good news is that getting enough folic acid may protect your baby from neural tube defects by at least 50%.
When taken before and during pregnancy, folic acid may also protect your baby against:
- Cleft lip and palate
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Poor growth in the womb
Folic acid has also been suggested to reduce your risk of:
- Pregnancy complications
- Heart disease