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Why Folic Acid is important during pregnancy

When you start planning for a pregnancy, it is widely advised that you also start taking a Folic Acid supplement. It’s advisable to have been taking Folic Acid for at least a month before becoming pregnant. However if it was an unplanned pregnancy, you should start taking it as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

You should continue taking the supplement until the 12th week of your pregnancy. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy being the time in which the foetus’s spine will do a large part of it’s developing.

The Folic Acid supplement should be taken in addition to your natural intake through a varied balanced diet. Folic acid naturally occurs in foods such as potatoes, green beans, brown rice and broccoli. Even if your life style involves a healthy balanced diet, it is still recommended you take Folic Acid supplements during the first part of pregnancy. The amount of Folic Acid required is more than can be gained through your diet alone.

Folic Acid supplements are widely available from pharmacies and supermarkets.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic Acid is one of the B vitamins, found occurring naturally in certain food types. We need Folic Acid in our diets as it plays an important part of the formation of red blood cells.

During pregnancy, Folic Acid is of heightened importance in the development of a healthy foetus. This is due to the rapid development of spine and nerve cells within the first few weeks of pregnancy. Folic Acid deficiency can be associated with nerve defects within your foetus. If you don’t have a good supply of folic acid present in the blood during this development period, there is an increased risk in the baby developing spinal cord problems. Such conditions as spina bifida may occur.

Summary:

When to start taking Folic Acid?

As soon as you start planning for a pregnancy (before you become pregnant) – until the end of your 12th week of pregnancy.

How to take Folic Acid?

Folic Acid supplements of 400 micrograms per day are advised, alongside a varied, balanced diet.

Why Folic Acid is needed during pregnancy

It’s an important vitamin needed in the development of your baby’s spine and nervous system.

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