In this article you will learn the following
A word that always means pregnancy is accompanied by: folic acid.
What is that actually? Why is folic acid so important and what happens when there is a folic acid deficiency? You will find out all this in the following article.
Why is folic acid so important during pregnancy?
Folate or folates are collective terms for a naturally occurring form of the water-soluble B vitamin. These are ingested through food and converted into an active molecular form in the body.
Folic acid is the synthetically manufactured form of vitamin B9 and can be better utilized by the body than folates.
But why is folic acid so important for your pregnancy?
The vitamin is primarily involved in the division and regeneration of cells. So in growth, in blood formation and in the development of nerve tissue. Folic acid is of enormous importance for the healthy development of the fetus and should definitely be supplemented sufficiently. This is how you can prevent a folic acid deficiency and the potentially serious consequences it can cause.
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What happens with a folic acid deficiency?
A folic acid deficiency primarily has a negative effect on cell formation (e.g. blood cells), cell division and growth processes.
In the case of the embryo, this is an undersupply of folic acid Risk of neural tube defects and congenital malformations greatly increased! Later, in the course of embryonic development, the central nervous system develops from the so-called neural tube. So it's sort of the precursor of the brain and spinal cord.
The neural tube usually closes about 4 weeks after conception (women often don't even know about their pregnancy by then).
A lack of folic acid can disrupt this closure and promote the possible development of malformations .
By the way, the most common neural tube defects are an “open spine” and “anencephaly (malformation of the brain)”.
In order to prevent this folic acid deficiency, it is advisable to start taking folic acid in good time, or to optimize the supply of the vitamin if you are planning to have children.
This can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by up to 70%!< /p>
Prevention and correct dosage
If you already have a desire to have children and you are planning to become pregnant, you should start taking a folic acid supplement right away.
Otherwise the following prevention tips apply:
- Folic acid-rich diet
- Daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid (the remainder up to the requirement of about 550 micrograms comes from the diet)
- Start of intake: 4 weeks before conception. If you want to have children immediately after stopping contraception
- Take until the end of the first trimester, possibly longer.
The normal requirement for folic acid in men and women is around 300 micrograms per day. During your pregnancy, however, the requirement increases to around 550 micrograms per day. Approximately 450 micrograms are recommended when breastfeeding.
Of course, folates are also found in our diet. You can find them mainly in green vegetables, legumes and many more.
But in order to get to your sufficient amount, you should also supplement as described above. It is best to discuss this with your gynaecologist. If your doctor diagnoses a severe folic acid deficiency in your pregnancy, there are also significantly higher dosages that have an effect very quickly. The blood values then usually improve within a few days.
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In which foods can I find folic acid?
Folic acid is found in many animal and plant foods. In addition to the folic acid supplements, you can help shape your intake of the vitamin yourself through a healthy and balanced diet.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and lamb's lettuce are particularly rich in folic acid. You can also find folic acid in legumes, whole grain products, wheat bran, citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes and berries. As you can see, there are many tasty ways to improve your folic acid requirements.
However, you should ensure careful preparation, as the folates are heat-sensitive and water-soluble.
If the topic of nutrition in the If you are interested in pregnancy, you can find the right article here.
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