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The Importance of Folic Acid in Pregnancies

So, you’re trying to get pregnant – congratulations! As you probably know, there are many things that women who could become pregnant should do to keep themselves healthy. One vitamin that is crucial to a healthy pregnancy is folic acid.

What is folic acid?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps your body to produce new cells. It is an important vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects in your baby.

What foods have folic acid?

Folic acid is found in enriched grain products such as pastas, rice, and breads. It’s also found in veggies such as beans, peas, broccoli, beets, asparagus, and spinach. However, this is often not enough for women who could become pregnant. Talk to your Cheyenne OBGYN doctor about dietary supplements. Your doctor may recommend a folic acid supplement in addition to your prenatal vitamins.

What are the benefits of folic acid?

For those who aren’t pregnant, folic acid is crucial for cell development throughout all parts of the body. For women who could become/are pregnant, folic acid plays a large role in the prevention of birth defects, specifically in your baby’s brain and spine. These are called neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs can cause serious problems for babies, including death. About 3,000 American babies are born each year with NTD. Folic acid is a great way to reduce the risk of your baby being born with an NTD.

When should I take folic acid?

Folic acid is crucial in the first trimester of pregnancy, and so all women who are of child-bearing age are recommended to take folic acid supplements if there is a chance that they could become pregnant, even if they are not trying to. Take your doctor-recommended supplements before conception and for at least 3 months after. The recommended amount is a supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid each day.

Pregnancy can be exciting but also confusing and scary! There is a lot of information out there on what to do and when to do it. We always recommend that you talk to your doctor about what is best for your body and your pregnancy, since no two pregnancies are alike. You can also find more information from reputable resources on our website here.

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