When you first find out that you are pregnant, you would literally think about what vitamins to take for you and you’re growing unborn. You would only want the best for the baby. You will be very careful on taking medicines and vitamins. However, you would need to consult an OB-GYN. they would initially prescribe you FOLIC ACID in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
In this article we are going to discuss the reasons why you should take folic acid and how much is the recommended dosage for it.
- What is Folic Acid?
- How is Folic Acid important?
- Why do you need folic acid when you’re pregnant
- When and how much folic acid should you take?
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the B vitamin group. It is often contained in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, Jew’s mallow, and liver.
In recent years, folic acid has been gaining attention as a nutrient to be taken during pregnancy, and in 2000, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in Japan issued a notice to women with a chance of pregnancy to consciously take folic acid.
In recent years, folic acid has been gaining attention as a nutrient to be taken during pregnancy, and in fact, CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that every woman of reproductive age should take folic acid every day whether she is pregnant or not.
How is Folic Acid important?
One of the main roles of folic acid, along with vitamin B12, is to make red blood cells, which is why folic acid is said to be the “blood-forming vitamin.
Furthermore, folic acid plays a role in helping to synthesize DNA, which is necessary for cell proliferation and is a very important nutrient for building the body’s foundation.
Adequate folic acid intake during pregnancy has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing neural tube defects (NTDs) in the fetus.
Why do you need folic acid when you’re pregnant
The first trimester
There is no other reason why you need to take folic acid during pregnancy than for the healthy development of the fetus. Let’s take a closer look at the neural tube closure disorder we mentioned above.
If folic acid intake for pregnant women is deficient in early pregnancy, she may not be able to make the neural tube successfully, increasing her risk of developing neural tube closure disorder. Inadequate intake of folic acid in the early pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus.
Neural tube closure disorder is a congenital abnormality caused by the failure of the neural tube of the fetus to form well, which takes around 4 to 5 weeks in the early pregnancy. An encephalopathy, spina bifida, and meningeal aneurysms are said to occur, and spina bifida, which causes spinal formation failure.
In either case, it can lead directly to death or require lifelong treatment and rehabilitation. Folic acid intake during pregnancy is important in order to prevent such fetal disorders. Folic acid intake is required not only during pregnancy, but also before pregnancy and during lactation, and CDC recommends taking it 3 months prior to pregnancy.
The reason for this is that many women are unaware of their pregnancy in the early stages and may not be able to support the development of the fetus until they are aware of it. The neural tube of the fetus is said to form a few weeks after fertilization. Therefore, it is recommended that you take folic acid when you are planning and expecting a pregnancy.
When and how much folic acid should you take?
The ideal intake of folic acid in men and women over the age of 18 is 400 mcg (micrograms) per day. However, additional folic acid does not necessarily have to come from food sources; rather, doctors recommend taking folic acid from supplements and dietary supplements in the early stages of pregnancy.
Targeted folic acid intake for each pregnancy period
Now let’s take a look at the target amount of folic acid you need for each stage of your pregnancy.
Fertility treatment – 3 months of pregnancy
Folic acid intake is especially important during and immediately after the planning stage of pregnancy. An additional 400 µg/day of pteroyl monoglutamic acid is recommended for pregnant women at this time.
This means that you need to take 240 µg/day of folic acid mainly from your diet, and 400 µg/day from supplements. However, the maximum amount of pteroyl monoglutamic acid taken from a supplement is 900-1000 μg/day. Excessive intake may cause side effects such as health problems, so be careful not to overdose.
4 months of pregnancy – delivery
From around the fourth month of pregnancy until delivery, you should take an additional 240 μg of folic acid daily in addition to the 240 μg of folic acid per day you take from your diet. It is important to note here that the folic acid you take in addition is natural folic acid, not supplements.
That means you need to get 480 μg of folic acid from your diet every day. Keep in mind that you need to take a lot of natural folic acid on an ongoing basis during pregnancy.
Even during breastfeeding after childbirth, you need 100 μg of folic acid in addition to the 240 μg you get from your diet every day. Again, the additional amount is recommended for natural folic acid, so you’ll need to get 340 µg/day from your diet.
The reason why folic acid is needed when we are breastfeeding is that folic acid is used to make blood from tiny liquids to help hematopoietically heal and give a steady supply of breastmilk.
According to the “National Health and Nutrition Survey” published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the average intake of folic acid for women is 234 μg/day in their 20s, 243 μg/day in their 30s, and 253 μg/day in their 40s.
The daily intake of folic acid/240 μg that should be taken from the diet has been almost cleared, but the required intake from the 4th month of pregnancy to the lactation period has not been achieved.
Don’t forget to take supplements between pregnancy and the third trimester, and from the fourth trimester onwards try to take a standard amount of natural folic acid. If you need to take 480 µg of folic acid from food after the fourth month, it is equivalent to about three avocados and two bunches of boiled spinach.
Folic acid supplements recommended for pregnant women
There are many folic acid supplements available in various pharmaceutical shops and medical stores. But you should consider an organic and trusted folic acid supplement by many women. Thus, we encourage you to take our Belta Folic Acid Supplement for Women, and for Men as well.
Our Belta Folic Acid Supplement contains 400mcg Folic Acid for women and 200mcg Folic Acid for men, plus some iron, calcium, other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to help couples become fertile and conceive their child.
It’s very important to take folic acid especially when you are pregnant to reduce the risk of developing neural tube defects (NTDs) in the fetus. In the early pregnancy, you need to take a lot of folic acids. Therefore, try to take a folic acid supplement which is easy and safe!