What is folic acid?
Anyone who is planning to become pregnant or is pregnant has probably heard of “folic acid.” Folic acid is also known as Folate or Folacin and basically is vitamin B. This is a necessary vitamin during the period of rapid cell division, which is a defining characteristic of pregnancy. Folic acid is also helpful in producing red blood cells which help prevent anemia during pregnancy.
There are several important benefits of folic acid intake before and during pregnancy: Folic acid protects against neural tube defects, and it also improves your fertility.
However, the important question is when is the best time to take folic acid during pregnancy.
In order to work optimally, you must start taking folic acid at least 2-3 months before you get pregnant, and there is a study showing that it can improve your fertility if you start taking it up to one year before pregnancy begins.
Why is folic acid so important before pregnancy?
Studies have shown a direct link between the deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy and neural tube defects in a newborn. So if pregnant women do not intake enough folic acid during the 2-3 months before pregnancy, the risk of abnormalities in the baby’s skull, brain and spine are increased. It has also been shown in several studies that if the folic acid supplement is taken before and during the first trimester of gestation, the risk of neural tube defects s decreased by 72-100%. In addition there is a study showing that it can improve your fertility if you start taking it up to one year before pregnancy begins.
In order to work optimally, you must start taking folic acid at least 2-3 months before you get pregnant.
The neural tube, which eventually develops into the baby’s nervous system, is formed during the first few weeks of pregnancy and if the proper amount of folic acid is present in the mother’s body at this point, it reduces or eliminates the risks of defects in the child. Folic acid also reduces the risk of cleft lip and palate and preterm labor.
To avoid these risks, it is important that women who are trying to conceive or find out that they are pregnant, start taking a folic acid supplement immediately. These supplements should be used daily, particularly through the first trimester. Doctors recommend that women planning to get pregnant should take a daily dosage of 400 mcg and this amount should be increased to 600- 800 mcg once you conceive.