I remember the first time K and I visited our gynaec when we found out we were expecting Dev. She gave me a list of blood investigations and prescribed Folic Acid right away. I started taking the tablets as per her advice. I followed the same procedure when I was expecting Diya. Never once did I think “Why Folic Acid?” till recently. Read on to know more about the importance of these supplements.
Folic acid is also known as a pregnancy superhero! Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. If you talked to your doctor when you were trying to conceive, she would have asked you to start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.
Folic acid is a man-made form of a B vitamin called folate. Folate 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.
Neural tube defects occur at a very early stage of development, before many women even know they’re pregnant – which is why it’s important to begin taking folic acid before you start trying to conceive. One study showed that women who took folic acid for at least a year before getting pregnant cut their chances of delivering early by 50% or more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that women who take the recommended daily dose of folic acid starting at least one month before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy reduce their baby’s risk of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent.
Some research suggests that folic acid may help lower your baby’s risk of other defects as well, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain types of heart defects. It may also reduce your risk of preeclampsia, a serious blood pressure disorder that affects about 5 percent of pregnant women.
What else does folic acid do for you? Your body needs this nutrient to make normal red blood cells and prevent a type of anemia. It’s also essential for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA, our genetic map and a basic building block of cells. Getting enough folic acid is particularly important for the rapid cell growth of the placenta and your developing baby.
Cleft is one of the pressing concerns being faced today and more and more children are undergoing surgery for correction of the same. Research shows that Cleft can be prevented in newborns by taking Folic Acid supplements as prescribed by Doctors. Anamaya Indo Pacific is a trust that has been devoted to this cause. Their Birth defect preventive program carries out this mission through programs like research, community services, education and advocacy. Their program has started with a public awareness campaign called ‘Go Folic before you frolic,’ to educate women of childbearing age on the value of taking pre – conception folic acid supplements, since this can prevent some particular birth defects.
“Cleft Free India” is their Dream as well as ours. Do follow them at http://anamayaindopacific.org to know more about their programs, research and how you can be a small part of something big. Also follow them on facebook using the below Link https://www.facebook.com/Anamayaindopacific/
Note: Please consult with your Doctor for the exact combination/ dosage of vitamins to be taken. The doctor orders a blood investigation based on which he/she prescribes the right supplements to be taken. Please avoid over the counter medications when pregnant/breastfeeding. Better safe than sorry. The data points for the above blog have been sourced from popular websites like WebMD,BabyCenter,etc