What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a form of water soluble Vitamin B9. It plays a major role in DNA and RNA synthesis, cell division and in normal spine development of fetus in pregnant women. Folic acid intake is recommended at every stage of pregnancy; while planning for conception, throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding, in different dosages.
While there are a lot of supplements available to meet the demands, natural sources of folic acid win the game. However, to meet the normal requirements during pregnancy, natural sources will have to be consumed in large quantities, which is practically quite not possible, thus supplements are prescribed for every woman who is planning to or already expecting.
While planning for conception: 400 micrograms of folic acid is usually prescribed, since studies have suggested that a daily dosage reduces the risk of premature delivery by 50%. It also helps to overcome anemia which not just affects fertility but also overall health of women.
During 1st trimester: 400 micrograms is prescribed during this stage as well. The fetal brain and spinal cord’s development and growth happens during this phase. Thus a daily dosage will help avoid any defects such as Spina bifida (improper development of spinal cord) and anencephaly (incomplete growth of major brain parts).
During 4th to 9th month: 600 micrograms is prescribed. The overall development is supported by the supply of enough folic acid.
Breastfeeding: 500 micrograms is prescribed, since the only nutrition to the baby is mother’s milk, a constant supply of folic acid through it helps normal growth of the baby.
• Fortified cereals
• Baker's yeast
• Brussel sprouts
• Egg yolk
• Jacket potato (large)
• Sunflower seeds