We’ve teamed up with eumom to give you the best advice for your nutrition during pregnancy. Today, we’re chatting about folic acid.
Folic acid is a very important part of a healthy pregnancy… and ironically, it’s one of the essential vitamins in pregnancy whose effectiveness is most vital before a woman even knows she is expecting.
Folic acid is from the vitamin B family and is essential in helping your unborn child form a healthy neural tube. A neural tube is the makings of the brain and spinal cord. It is imperative that the neural tube develops healthily and closes fully to avoid neural tube defects such as spina bifida in your unborn child.
When do I start taking folic acid?
Ideally, you should start taking a folic acid supplement about two months before conception and continue taking it until you’ve reached the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is why doctors recommend that all women of child-bearing age take folic acid supplements daily to prepare for pregnancies, both planned and unplanned.
If you have already missed that window of time, don’t panic. While you may not have been taking a supplement, you will also find folic acid in your daily diet. Foods rich in folate include orange juice, cereals, spinach, broccoli, peas, lentils, melon and asparagus. In a healthy diet, it is possible to eat enough foods rich in folic acid to ward off neural tube defects. However, it is rare that women eat enough every day to reach the recommended amounts, so a supplement is advised.
How much folic acid do I need?
The recommended daily dose of folic acid per day is 400 micrograms. If you did not take folic acid prior to pregnancy, it is important to remember that most women will consume enough folic acid to ward off neural tube defects without ever realising it. However, if you have concerns, you should consult your doctor.
When it comes to folic acid, it is scientifically proven to make a huge difference in the health of both mother and baby. If you missed the window for folic acid, it’s never too late to start living healthier. Take antenatal supplements and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
At eumom, we’re first for parenting, first for moms and we believe the best part of parenting is celebrating memorable moments together. From big announcements, to joyful arrivals, from first steps to first days of school, we are here for you.