Folic acid is one of the important medications to take during pregnancy. But the question is, why is it important? Perhaps you have been wondering why your healthcare provider decided to prescribe it for you. The reasons are not farfetched.
During pregnancy, folic acid plays an important role in fetal growth – in the development of the nervous system and in the formation of blood cells.
What folic acid does is that, it is for production of red blood cells by the bone marrow.
Taking folic acid (0.4mg) a day for at least a month before conception and during first trimester can decrease the chances of having a baby with neural-tube defect such as spina bifida, by 50-70% according to CDC.
Folic acid also helps in preventing some other birth defects as well such as anencephaly.
Neural tube is the part of the embryo from which baby’s spine and brain develop. Spina bifida is a congenital deformity of the spine which occurs in about 2 in 1000 live births.
Folic acid also reduces the risk of preeclampsia, a serious blood pressure disorder that affect about 5% of pregnant women, according to Dr. Adepoju of HealthNewsNg.
Some researchers said it may help lower baby’s risk of defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate and certain types of heart defects.
Its deficiency is a cause of megaloblastic anaemia, which causes fatigue, pallor and depression. Deficiency can occur from a poor diet and especially from people who drink large amount of alcohol.
It is contained in variety of foods, particularly, liver, raw vegetables, fruits.
∆ During pregnancy, if you are confused as to what to take, talk to your healthcare provider.