If you are trying to get pregnant, you may already know that taking folic acid is essential for your pregnancy. Doctors recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with 400 mcg or micrograms of folic acid before and during pregnancy. But do you know why it is necessary?
Folic acid plays a powerful role in the development of your child’s brain. If your body lacks this vital element, your child may have a neural tube defect. So, in sort folic acid is your pregnancy superhero!
While there are many congenital disabilities, many you can’t do much to prevent (especially if it’s a genetic disorder). This is something you can totally avoid by taking care of yourself.
Neural tube defects affect either the brain or spinal cord of the baby. Babies with neural tube defects often shortly die after birth, and those who survive have an ill-functioning brain.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a subtype of vitamin B9. It is involved in creating new cells in the developing baby. Folate plays an essential role in producing red blood cells and developing neural tube in the brain and spinal cord.
Folic acid is an essential nutrient for women trying to get pregnant and those in the first trimester.
During the first 28 days of pregnancy, the spine and surrounding tissues form. Folic acid is involved in this process and therefore reduces the chance of spinal defects by 80%.
For the rest of the trimester, folic acid for newborns is involved in producing red blood cells, forming blood vessels, and supporting proper cell division.
Deficiency of folic acid can result in premature births, low-weight babies, and newborns with cognitive problems.
Mamas-to-be leads us to our next question: What is the required amount of folic for healthy newborns!
What Is The Recommended Intake Of Folic Acid For Newborns’ Newborns’ Growth?
For a non-pregnant woman, recommended folic acid is 400 mcg per day. The dose increases to 600 mcg when a woman gets pregnant, considering folic acid’s cruciality for newborns. Whereas, for a breastfeeding mother, the required folic acid for newborns is 500 mcg per day.
What Are The Sources Of Folic Acid?
Folic acid is naturally present in fruits and vegetables. Some natural food sources of folic acid for newborns with a calculated folic acid serving (per cup) are:
- Brussels Sprouts- 94 mcg
- Beets- 148 mcg
- Spinach- 58.3 mcg
- Legumes- 131 mcg
- Asparagus- 268 mcg
- Orange- 55 mcg
- Bananas- 23.6 mcg
Doctors advise that you must take a supplement to up folic acid in your body apart from consuming these fruits and vegetables. This is because folic acid is one of the most essential supplements that you and your child need in the first trimester essentially. With the right amount of folic acid for newborns available, you can prevent 70% of congenital disabilities!
NCBI. 2014. Global Burden of Neural Tube Defects, and Prevention.
Self Nutrition Data. (n.d). Calories in Beans, kidney, california red, mature seeds,
NCBI.1979. Folic acid supplementation in low weight infants
Stanford’ sStanford’s Children Health. (n.d). Folic Acid for Healthy Baby