Folic acid during pregnancy : reduce the risk of birth defects
If you are a pregnant woman, taking folic acid during pregnancy on a daily basis can help prevent serious birth defects in your unborn baby. If you expect to become pregnant folic acid can also prevent the risks.
All women who could become pregnant are at risk of having babies with neural tube defects. These are serious birth defects that consist of abnormalities in the baby's brain, skull or spine. Women can work with their health professionals to reduce this risk significantly by seeking their advice on how to take folic acid during pregnancy and even before.acid.
Neural Tube Defects (NTDs)
The neural tube is the part of the developing baby that eventually becomes the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects (NTDs) occur when the neural tube fails to close completely during the early weeks of pregnancy. At this early stage, many women do not even know that they are pregnant.
Spina bifida is the most common NTD. The effects of spina bifida are quite varied. These effects can range from severe physical disabilities and developmental delay, to problems that can be corrected by surgery. The most common effects are limited use of the lower limbs, and bowel and bladder limitations.
Another NTD is anencephaly, a condition in which the brain either fails to develop completely, or does not develop at all. Pregnancies affected by this condition often end in miscarriage. Babies born with anencephaly die very soon after birth.
Folic Acid during pregnancy reduces the risk of NTDs
Folic acid, or folate, one of the B vitamins is essential to the normal development of a baby's spine, brain, and skull, especially during the first weeks of pregnancy.
Research has shown that women who take Folic Acid during pregnancy through a daily supplement containing folic acid can reduce the risk of having a baby with an NTD. This is particularly true if the supplement is taken before conception and in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Women at Higher Risk
If you have a personal or family history of NTDs, you should consult your doctor. You may be advised to take a higher daily dosage of folic acid during pregnancy. If you have diabetes, epilepsy, or if you are obese, you may be at higher risk of having a baby with an NTD. You should discuss these risk factors with your doctor before planning your pregnancy.
To Reduce Your Risk of NTDs
If you are a woman who may become pregnant, you should:
- Ask your health care professional about the benefits of folic acid during pregnancy. If you are at higher risk, your doctor will need to know your health history in order to recommend the right supplement and dosage for you
- Maintain a healthy nutritional diet. Taking a vitamin supplement is a complement not a replacement to the need for a healthy diet. Good sources of folic acid include dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peas, and brussel sprouts. Other good sources include corn, dried peas, beans, lentils, oranges, and orange juice
- Seek advice from a health professional about how to take folic acid. In large doses, some of the ingredients in multivitamins can do more harm than good
Remember it's never too early to think about folic acid during pregnancy .... or better before being pregnant.
Folic acid during pregnancy : Our personal suggestion for a highly potent supplement combining several ingredients for better efficacy and results
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