Expecting mothers, folic acid is vital to the healthy development of your baby. Are you getting enough?
Your diet has always been important, but as soon you discover that you're pregnant, the nutrition you get becomes even more crucial. One of the most important nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy is folic acid.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin (B9) that assists in the production of new cells in the body. Folic acid is naturally present in some foods, but few women get enough in their diet without taking supplements. Most doctors recommend 400 to 800 mcg a day. Women with a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect may need a higher amount of folic acid. Talk with your doctor about the right amount for you.
Why Is Folic Acid Acid So Important?
The main reason doctors stress the necessity of folic acid is because it helps prevent neural tube defects in the baby. Some birth defects and other health problems your baby may avoid with folic acid include:
- Spina bifida
- Heart defects
Who Needs Folic Acid?
Folic acid supplements or fortified foods are recommended for all sexually active women of childbearing age – even if they are not trying to conceive. Folic acid is the most effective when it becomes part of your diet at least three months before conception even occurs. Neural tube defects usually develop during the first couple weeks of pregnancy. During this time, many women do not even realize they are pregnant yet.
Have you decided where you want to deliver your baby? It's important to choose an environment where you feel safe and comfortable. Learn more about maternity care at Mercy Hospital! You can also give our 24-hour Baby Helpline a call at (305) 285-2159.