Is it necessary to have folic acid during pregnancy?

The recently launched milk powders for pregnant women all emphasize that they can supplement the amount of folic acid that women need during pregnancy. What exactly is “folate”? Who need more folic acid? What does folic acid do for a woman? Is it good to take folic acid everyday? What are the consequences of folic acid deficiency in pregnant women?

What does folic acid do in the body?

Folic Acid is one of the nutritional elements of vitamin B9, which is found in most green fruits and vegetables, so it is named “folate”. Its main function is to enhance the bone marrow’s ability to produce red blood cells, because folic acid and vitamin B12 are both important substances for the body to produce “deoxyribonucleic acid” (also known as DNA).

The two depend on each other to be effective. In addition, the process of cell division in the body requires folic acid and Vitamin B12 to combine with each other. Therefore, during pregnancy, the body needs twice as much folic acid as usual, and its function is to help the fetus in the womb grow up healthily.

Can low folic acid affect fertility?

If the body lacks folic acid, it can cause insufficient gastric acid, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, and bleeding gums. In severe cases, it can cause “macrobiotics anemia”, that is, the red blood cells in the body become abnormal. Huge, can cause infertility

Pregnant women need folic acid more than ordinary people to help their fetus grow and develop. If a pregnant woman lacks folic acid, the fetus will grow slowly, and it will cause various congenital malformations and mental retardation. Therefore, whether ordinary people or pregnant women, the body needs to have enough folic acid.

How much folic acid does a pregnant woman need?

Folic acid intake is based on the daily folic acid intake recommended by the American medical community. Adult men are 200mg (mg), adult women are 180mg, pregnant women are 400-800mg, and breastfeeding women are about 260-280mg, so we need it every day Eat fruits and vegetables in order to get enough folic acid. 

In addition, we must pay attention to cooking methods to preserve the folic acid contained in food. First, rinse the vegetables under the tap, and then fry them for two or three minutes until they are half-cooked and serve them. Cooking them at high temperatures for too long will accelerate the loss of folic acid.

folic acid sources & Supplementary

In terms of food, green vegetables and colorful fruits are rich in folic acid. Other foods that contain a lot of folic acid include soybeans, bananas, spinach, green radishes, oranges and peas, as well as milk and dairy products. 

Although many milk powders have been introduced on the market, claiming that they can supplement pregnant women with enough folic acid, it is better to take them from natural foods than artificial methods.

Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women will produce teratogenic baby

Enough folic acid in the early pregnancy of pregnant women can reduce 50 to 75% of abnormal children with neurological deficits. Every year, 500,000 babies are born with “no-brainer babies (Anencephaly)” and protruding brains and spinal cords.

The incidence of this deformity varies by race and region. It is more common in mountainous areas of the United States, and is rarer in Jews in Africa, Asia and Central Europe, but more cases in Scotland, Ireland, and Egypt. 

If a woman has given birth to a baby with a neurological deficit, she will have a 2 to 3% chance of recurrence next time she is pregnant, which means there is a tenfold chance of recurrence.

The way of prevention is to start taking four milligrams of folic acid every day at least one month before the pregnancy, until the third month of pregnancy, to achieve the purpose of prevention and protection. 

In addition, folic acid can be supplemented from foods such as meat, scallops, yeast or egg yolk.

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