What is Folic Acid?
Folic Acid, also known as Vitamin B-9 or Folate, is a water-soluble vitamin in the family of Vitamin B complex. Though everyone needs this vitamin, during pregnancy it has certain vital benefits. That is why it is considered as one of the most important prenatal vitamins.
Why is Folic Acid important?
In developing fetus, a structure called a neural tube later develops as the baby’s brain, spinal cord & the bones that enclose them.
If something wrong happens in this process, it is termed as a neural tube defect. It may cause congenital birth defects like spina-bifida & anencephaly. Folic Acid is actively involved in many vital functions of our body like the formation of new blood cells, cell growth, DNA replication & tissue growth. Because of this reason Folic Acid is considered necessary for a pregnant woman to prevent such defects in the developing baby.
How much Folic Acid is required?
As a common rule, all women of childbearing age groups are advised to take at least 400 mcg of Folate per day. For pregnant women, the same amount is recommended especially during the initial 3 months of pregnancy. The requirement is about 600 mcg per day, from 4 to 9 months.
Sources of Folic Acid
Dietary sources of Folic Acid are abundant. Folic Acid is found in dark leafy greens, legumes, citrus fruits, fortified cereal, etc. Your doctor may prescribe Folic Acid supplements for nutrition in the form of pills.