Importance Of Folic Acid In Pregnancy

Folic acid belongs to the group of vitamins known as Vitamin B or the B vitamins. It is also a synthetic form of foliate. Folic Acid is highly important for the normal functioning of the body. It assists in some of the major functions of the body, such as the production of the DNA, division of cells as well as the amalgamation of the blood cells. Given its intense importance for the human body, folic acid is included in most of the food and nutrient supplements prescribed by doctors and nutritionists.

Now the question arises – what is its importance in pregnancy? A lot, actually Folic acid is essential to a healthy pregnancy. It plays a major role in the development of a fetus too. Top IVF experts and infertility specialists claim that this nutrient is necessary for the healthy progress of a pregnancy. Additionally, it is critical for the development of the spinal cord and brain of the baby growing inside the womb. The deficiency of folic acid may cause severe disorders such as spina bifida (incomplete spinal cord development) and anencephaly (incomplete brain development).

Therefore, there is no doubt that folic acid must be incorporated into a woman’s diet, most importantly, before and during her pregnancy. Luckily, there are a plethora of methods that can be used to fulfil a pregnant woman’s folic acid requirements. Some of these are mentioned below:-

  • leafy green vegetables such as Spinach, Swiss chard
  • Orange juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Certain meats and body parts such as liver or kidney
  • Tomato juice
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Lentils, Beans, nuts

Folic acid does not just help in the development of certain body parts but also protects the delicate and developing parts of the baby’s body such as the neural tube during the first few weeks of development during pregnancy. This lowers the risk of developing serious birth defects remarkably.

Folic acid supplements are standard for pregnant women and those who plan to become pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk for birth defects of a baby’s brain and spine by 50% to 70%. Folic acid may also lower the risk of preeclampsia and early labour.

14 years and up 400 micrograms/day
Pregnant women 600 micrograms/day
500 micrograms/day