For pregnant women, having a healthy baby means make her self healthy first. One of the most important things you can do to prevent serious birth defects in the baby is getting enough folic acid every day – especially before conception and during early pregnancy.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is vitamin B9, vitamin B forms are soluble in water. Folic acid occurs naturally in foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form is widely used for food fortification and nutritional supplements.
In humans, folic acid required for the synthesis of nucleic acids and the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Intake of folic acid deficiency can interfere with the maturation of young red blood cells and cause anemia.
Folic acid is important for the development of the neural tube during pregnancy that forms the brain and spinal cord. Deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women increases the risk of preterm birth, infants with low birth weight or with neural tube defects (neural tube defects).
Many studies show that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid daily before conception and during early pregnancy reduces the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects by 70%.
Neural tube defects occur when the neural tube fails to close properly thus making the brain or spinal cord exposed to amniotic fluid. Defects are the most common nerve trunk is spina bifida (incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spine), anencephaly (cranium fails to close), and encephalocele (protruding brain tissue in the skin of an abnormal opening in the skull).
All of these defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy (or 4 to 6 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period) – usually before a woman knows she is pregnant. That’s why it’s so important for all women of childbearing age to get enough folic acid – not just those who are planning to become pregnant. Only 50% of pregnancies are planned, so any woman of childbearing potential should make sure he is getting enough folic acid.
Doctors and scientists are still not entirely sure why folic acid has a major impact in the prevention of neural stem defects, but they know that vitamins are very important in the development of DNA. Consequently, folic acid plays a major role in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation.
Sources of folic acid
Folate derived from Latin, which means the leaves. Folic acid is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, katuk, green beans and broccoli. Oranges, nuts, soybeans, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, liver and meat is also rich in folic acid.