What Does Folic Acid Do For Pregnancy

It Is Recommended Especially Under The Following Conditions:

How long do I have to take folic acid during pregnancy? – Dr. Anupama Rohidekar
  • When either of the parent has neural tube defects
  • When your previous child has any neural tube defect
  • Either of you has a family history of incidences related to neural tube defects
  • You are a patient of diabetes

Hence detecting diabetes at the right time is extremely important for the pregnancy to be a healthy one. Natal diabetes can be harmful for both the mother and child.

When To Take It

Anyone who wishes to become pregnant should start taking folic acid supplements before they start trying.

The reason for this is that neural tube defects occur early in development, often before a person knows that they are pregnant.

As about half of pregnancies are unplanned, experts recommend that anyone who can get pregnant take folic acid supplements. Doing so ensures that even if a pregnancy is a surprise, the likelihood of neural tube defects is low.

Folic acid is water soluble, which enables the body to metabolize it quickly. For this reason, those taking folic acid supplements need to take one every day.

There is no need to take the supplement at a specific time of day or with a meal. However, developing a habit, such as taking a prenatal vitamin every morning with breakfast, may make it easier to remember to take folic acid.

The CDC note that in most cases, each folic acid pill or multivitamin contains

  • Banana: 24 mcg per medium fruit
  • Spinach: 131 mcg per one-half cup boiled
  • Black-eyed peas: 105 mcg per one-half cup boiled
  • Avocado: 59 mcg per one-half cup
  • Broccoli: 52 mcg per one-half cup
  • Orange juice: 35 mcg per three-quarters cup
  • Asparagus: 89 mcg per four spears
  • Brussels sprouts: 78 mcg per one-half cup

Fortified cereals, such as breakfast cereal and oatmeal, are also high in folic acid. A person can check the label to learn the exact quantity.

It is possible to get enough folic acid from the diet, but the ACOG still recommend taking a supplement while pregnant.

How Much Will I Take

How much you take depends on why you need folic acid.

Before and during early pregnancy

The usual dose for most women trying to get pregnant and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is 400 micrograms, taken once a day.

If there’s a higher risk of neural tube defects during your pregnancy, your doctor will recommended a higher dose of 5mg, taken once a day.

Folate deficiency anaemia

To treat anaemia, the usual dose for adults and children over 1 year old is 5mg, taken once a day, for 4 months.

Sometimes the dose may be increased to 15mg a day.

If your child is under 12 months old, the doctor will use your child’s weight to work out the right dose.

To prevent anaemia, the usual dose for adults and children over 12 years old is 5mg, taken every 1 to 7 days.

This depends on your age, diet and any other health conditions you may have.

For children less than 12 years old, the doctor will use your child’s age or weight to work out the right dose.

If you’re taking methotrexate

The usual dose for adults and children is 5mg once a week, on a different day of the week to your methotrexate.

Some people take 1mg to 5mg once a day, apart from the day when they have their methotrexate.

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Tuesday 11 September 2018

So youve started to think about trying for a baby, congratulations, what an exciting time!

Good nutrition is important for everyone, but particularly important for pregnant women for healthy growth and development of their baby.

It is important to get enough nutrients and vitamins before conception and during pregnancy.

Folic acid supplements are recommended for women who are planning to become pregnant, could become pregnant or are pregnant.

What Are The Sources For Folic Acid

Thinking About Getting Pregnant? Take Folic Acid

Folate happens naturally in many foods, like dark, leafy green vegetables, legumes , and fruits (oranges, bananas, melons, and most berries. But often its not enough. To help women get the amount they need, the FDA requires folic acid to be added to enriched breads, breakfast cereals, pastas, rice, and other grains.

The developing baby needs folate to make healthy new cells, and to make DNA and RNA . These are cell-building blocks. Folate also is essential to form normal red blood cells and certain amino acids. These are important functions during pregnancy and infancy. This is a time when cells rapidly divide and grow.

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How Much Folic Acid Is Needed To Prevent Neural Tube Defects

CDC and the US Public Health Service urge every woman who could become pregnant to get 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid every day.

One easy way a woman can be sure she is getting enough folic acid is to take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day. Most vitamins sold in the United States have the recommended daily amount of folic acid that women need to prevent neural tube defects. Vitamins can be found at most local pharmacy, grocery, or discount stores.

You can get your vitamin with folic acid in one of several ways. You can take a multivitamin or a small, single supplement of folic acid. These days, multivitamins with folic acid come in chewable chocolate or fruit flavors, liquids, and large oval or smaller round pills. Many stores offer a single folic acid supplement for just pennies a day.

Another good choice is a store-brand multivitamin, which includes most of the vitamins you need each day. Unless your doctor suggests a special type, you do not need to choose among vitamins for women or active people, or one for people who are on a low carbohydrate diet. A basic multivitamin meets the needs of most women.

Another way to get folic acid is to eat enough breakfast cereal that has been enriched with folic acid every day. Amounts of folic acid in cereals vary, so be sure to check the label on the side of the box to make sure youre getting an adequate amount.

When Should A Woman Start Taking Folic Acid

These birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman finds out she is pregnant. All women should get in the habit of taking folic acid daily even when they are not planning to get pregnant. For folic acid to help, a woman needs to take it every day, starting before she becomes pregnant.

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Maintain The Health Of Cervix

Folic acids will be very important vitamins to protect yourself from the cervical cancer. Many studies have shown that the supplementation of folic acids will prevent you from cervical dyslapsia, which is a pre-cancerous condition of the cervix. This is because the folic acids could stimulate the synthesis of the DNA as the cells will divide from one generation to the other.

So, the cells that line the cervix commonly replaced themselves about every 2 weeks. These cells replacement activity is very important as they must continuously form the DNA as part of their genetic structure. In case of you suffer from folic acid deficiency, the form of DNA will become abnormal and this will lead to cervical dyslapsia.

The study conducted by Butterworth et al. evidence that patients with moderate levels of cervical dyslapsia shown a significant improvement related to their cervixs condition after taking folic acids supplements regularly for about three months.

Folic Acid: All Women Every Day

Folic Acid in Pregnancy

You might think that you can get all the folic acid and other vitamins you need from the food you eat each day. But it is hard to eat a diet that has all the nutrients you need every day. Even with careful planning, you might not get all the vitamins you need from your diet alone. Thats why its important to take a vitamin with folic acid every day.

Todays woman is busy. You know that you should exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. You might wonder how you can fit another thing into your day. But it only takes a few seconds to take a vitamin to get all the folic acid you need.

How much do you know about folic acid? Take this quiz and find out.

If taking folic acid for reasons other than neural tube defect prevention, talk to your healthcare provider.

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Selecting A Multivitamin Containing Folic Acid

For women who can become pregnant, health care professionals play an important role in motivating them to use supplements . To ensure proper use of multivitamin supplements:

  • Use the ‘Key messages on folate for women of childbearing age‘ to write or talk about folic acid supplementation during the childbearing years.
  • Encourage women to look for a multivitaminFootnote 13 that provides 400 mcg of folic acid per daily dose. The product should also include vitamin B12.
  • Advise women that prenatal supplements contain higher amounts of nutrients than are usually needed by women who are not pregnant. A non-prenatal multivitamin supplement is often enough. Following this advice can help women avoid taking excessive amounts of nutrients over time.
  • Ensure that women look for a Drug Identification Number or Natural Product Number on the product label showing that the product is government-approved for safety, efficacy, and quality.
  • Emphasize the importance of reading product labels. Some supplements may include cautionary notes about their use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Caution women not to take more than one daily dose. This will help women not go over the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for vitamin AFootnote 14, which is 3,000 mcg retinol activity equivalent or 10,000 IU.
  • Remind women to keep all supplements stored out of reach of young children.

How Much Folic Acid During Pregnancy

The amount of folic acid which is required to be consumed by pregnant women in early stages is recommended to be 400 micro-grams every day. There are different stages in pregnancy and during each different stages, a particular amount of folic acid is recommended which are listed below:

  • when you think you are about to get pregnant or before conception: 400 micrograms
  • during first three stages of pregnancy : 400 micrograms
  • during four to nine months of pregnancy: 600 micrograms
  • during breastfeeding: 500 micrograms

It must be noted that this amount of consumption of folic acid may vary according to the prescriptions written by your doctor as it may happen that you are already prescribed a multivitamin tablet.

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Why Do You Need Folic Acid If Youre Not Pregnant

For starters, 40 percent of pregnancies across the globe are unplanned. Therefore, taking folic acid if youre a woman and not pregnant helps ensure you have adequate levels of folate for a developing fetus before you find out youre pregnant.

Additionally, research indicates folic acid may play a preventive role in autism, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. A deficiency in this vitamin may increase the risk of depression, allergic diseases, anemia and low bone density. Folic acid may also impact memory and brain function.

How To Get Enough Folic Acid To Prevent Neural Tube Defects

Why Do You Need Folic Acid in Pregnancy? CK Birla Hospital

In addition to eating foods with folate from a varied diet, women can get folic acid from

  • Taking a vitamin that has folic acid in it:
  • Most vitamins sold in the United States have the recommended daily amount of folic acid that women need for the prevention of neural tube defects. Vitamins can be found at most local pharmacy, grocery, or discount stores.
  • Eating fortified foods:
  • You can find folic acid in some breads, breakfast cereals, and corn masa flour.
  • Getting a combination of the two: taking a vitamin that has folic acid in it and eating fortified foods.
  • If taking folic acid for reasons other than neural tube defect prevention, talk to your healthcare provider.

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    How Are Neural Tube Defects Diagnosed

    Neural tube defects are detected through an alpha-fetoprotein test . AFP is a blood test administered at 16-18 weeks gestation. The test measures alpha-fetoprotein, a substance produced by the fetus and secreted into the amniotic fluid.AFP is also found in the mothers blood. The level of AFP in the mothers blood peaks at about 30-32 weeks. Abnormally high amounts of AFP may indicate that a baby has a neural tube defect.

    How Can I Get Enough Folic Acid

    How can women of childbearing age and especially those who are planning a pregnancy get enough folic acid every day?

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food-makers to add folic acid to their enriched grain products. So you can boost your intake by eating breakfast cereals, breads, pastas, and rice that have 100% of the recommended daily folic acid allowance. Check the product’s label for this information.

    But for most women, eating fortified foods isn’t enough. To reach the recommended daily level, you’ll probably need a vitamin supplement. During pregnancy, you need more of all of the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant.

    Prenatal vitamins shouldn’t replace a well-balanced diet. But taking them can give your body and your baby an added boost of vitamins and minerals. Some health care providers recommend taking a folic acid supplement in addition to a prenatal vitamin. Talk to your doctor about your daily folic acid intake. He or she might recommend a prescription supplement, an over-the-counter brand, or both.

    Also talk to your doctor if you’ve already had a pregnancy that was affected by a neural tube defect or if you or your partner were affected by one yourselves. The doctor may recommend that you take a higher dose of folic acid .

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    How Much Folic Acid Should I Take

    The recommended dose for all women of childbearing age is 400 mcg of folate each day. If you take a multivitamin every day, check to see if it has the recommended amount. If for some reason you don’t want to take a multivitamin, you can take folic acid supplements.

    Here’s how much folic acid is recommended each day in terms of pregnancy:

    • While you’re trying to conceive: 400 mcg
    • For the first three months of pregnancy: 400 mcg
    • For months four to nine of pregnancy: 600 mcg
    • While breastfeeding: 500 mcg

    How To Take It

    Folic Acid dose in Pregnancy in 75 seconds

    You can take folic acid with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole with a drink.

    If you’re taking folic acid as a liquid, it’ll come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose.

    If you do not have one, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give you the right amount.

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    Is Anyone Doing Anything About Too Much Folic Acid

    One major concern noted in the report is the lack of availability of prenatal supplements containing the recommended 0.4 mg of folic acid.

    Healthcare providers usually prescribe whats generally available in the marketplace, and most prenatal supplements have 1 mg of folic acid. Insurance companies reimburse for prescribed supplements only, so women will typically stick to what her healthcare provider prescribes.

    In addition, the paper noted that individual companies are reluctant to reduce the folic acid dose in their prenatal supplements because it may put them at a competitive disadvantage if they are not comparable with other products.

    But change may be happening. As a result of the workshop, major educational initiatives by physicians and dietitians to increase awareness about the discrepancy between folic acid recommendations and supplement dosages are now underway across the country.

    However, when asked whether they had any plans to change the formulation for Centrum Prenatal with its 1 mg folic acid, a GSK Consumer Healthcare spokesperson said they continuously review the emerging science on all micronutrients, including folic acid, along with professional recommendations and take this into account when looking at developing new formulas. Our formulas are authorized by Health Canada and are within Health Canada guidelines. They are safe and effective when used as directed.

    We need to get back to the recommended folic acid dose, says OConnor.

    Read more:

    Before Taking This Medicine

    You should not use this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to folic acid.

    Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have ever had:

    Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are breastfeeding.

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    How Should I Use Folic Acid

    Take folic acid exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

    Folic acid oral is taken by mouth.

    Folic acid injection is given into a muscle, under the skin, or into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

    Take folic acid tablets with a full glass of water.

    Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

    Store folic acid at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

    Folic Acid And Fertility

    Why You Must Have Folic Acid Before and During Pregnancy

    The link between folic acid and fertility has come under question in many studies. Recently, it’s been said that folic acid is able to help boost fertility. However, this occurs only at particularly high doses and is not guaranteed to help women. Women with higher than average levels of folic acid don’t necessarily have improved fertility.

    Interestingly, studies that feature higher levels of fertility tend to have extremely high doses of this vitamin. Supplementation of anything from 2 to 12.5 times the typical recommended daily amount have been used. Folic acid at such high doses also seems to boost the sperm count of men, promoting their fertility. If you’re having trouble conceiving, you should talk to your doctor before starting folic acid supplements in order to figure out the right amount to take. Too much folic acid can cause unpleasant side effects.

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