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Why Supplementing with Folic Acid is Important During Pregnancy

Published by monica on Friday, November 02, 2012

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Pregnancy is indeed a precious event between mother and child. As an expectant mother, it is your duty to take in as much relevant nutrition as you can, which would help nurture your baby’s development. Among those important things you need to include in your diet is folic acid because it helps increase production of your red blood cells.

Folic acid is also known to be Vitamin B9. It is mainly important for your growing baby because it is said to help foster regular neural tube development. This is also the reason why, as you may have observed, most of the infant milk formulas these days showcase the inclusion of folic acid amongst their many other ingredients. In some ways, you can say that folic acid is definitely food for your baby’s brain.

There are a lot of reasons why folic acid and neural tube development play an important role during pregnancy. To begin with, it is actually the neural tube inside the growing fetus that will eventually become the spinal cord and then the brain. So just imagine how much lifetime damage it can cause, should it be unable to fully develop. Neural tube defects are known to be the result of unclosed neural tubes. Some of its more physical manifestations are as follows:

Spina bifida – when the spinal cord and the accompanying vertebrae of the baby do not close fully, this is what happens. Reportedly, mild cases do not really end up with problems in health, but major defects are known to cause paralysis.

Anencephaly – this is the term coined for babies whose brains have failed to form completely.

Encephalocence – this is described as a protruding part found on the baby’s skull whereby the tissues emerge. These are actually brain tissues, which form limitlessly because the brain failed to close up.

As you see, folic acid is indeed a definite requirement during pregnancy. There is actually a lot of ways in which you can include folic acid in your daily diet. Foods, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, and cereals are known to be rich in folic acid. If you are going to have a planned pregnancy, it is best to take in as much folic acid as you can within a month before you intend to get pregnant. However, if you are already pregnant, you should take in folic acid during the first 3 months because it is this period that the crucial parts of your baby fully develop.

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