Folic Acid is one of the essential vitamins of the B Vitamins’ group and is required by the body to produce DNA and red blood cells while helping to prevent anemia. It is also useful for the development of the nervous system, the brain and spinal fluid. Folic acid is required for the proper growth of the placenta and your baby. Taking folic acid during pregnancy can help to prevent your baby from getting a very crucial neural tube defect known as Spina Bifida and defects of the brain such as anencephaly. Folic acid can also help to reduce the risk of certain heart defects and other defects like cleft palate and cleft lip. This wonderful vitamin also helps to protect you from preeclampsia, which is a very complicated disorder and can terribly affect you and your baby’s wellbeing. Women who are obese or diabetic may require extra folic acid during the pregnancy.
If you have made up your mind about starting a family, you can start taking folic acid from now on. You can start taking folic acid around three months before you conceive. It is a good idea to team it up with iron supplements. The dose can be continued until the first six months after delivery, if the mother is breastfeeding. You can check with your gynecologist and he/she will prescribe you the appropriate dosage. In most countries, a daily dose of 4mg of folic acid is considered sufficient. You should also eat a diet rich in folic acid, so that you can reduce the risk of a miscarriage and also protect your little one from developing birth defects. Foods that are rich in folic acid include chick peas, lentils, spinach, tomato juice, kidney beans and black-eyed beans. Green leafy vegetables, legumes and nuts are other sources of folic acid.