PregnancyThe importance of folic acid before and during pregnancy

The importance of folic acid before and during pregnancy

Folic acid is an essential vitamin not only during pregnancy, but also before pregnancy occurs. Discover its benefits, where to find it and why it is so important.

The folic acid is a water soluble vitamin (ie, which dissolves in water) belonging to the complex of vitamins of group B, which is popularly known by the name vitamin B9.

Within the group of vitamins of the B complex there is no doubt that it is one of the most important essential nutrients not only during pregnancy, but even before the woman becomes pregnant.

The importance of folic acid before you get pregnant

It is common to think only that folic acid – or vitamin B9 – is essential during pregnancy, but the truth is that its benefits are equally important before pregnancy occurs.

Its importance precisely before pregnancy is that it provides the mother with the recommended amounts she needs to prepare her body for pregnancy, and also prevents deformations in the placenta, which would ultimately be a cause of abortion.

To bring its benefits to your body, it is advisable to take folic acid supplements at least 3 months before the moment you want to get pregnant.

The benefits of folic acid during pregnancy

As we indicated previously, it becomes without a doubt one of the most important vitamins during pregnancy, but not only during the gestation process, but even from time before the mother becomes pregnant.

During pregnancy the recommended daily amount for future moms is 300 pg per day, while during breastfeeding this amount drops a bit, down to 260 pg / day.

In relation to foods rich in folic acid, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ and bran, walnuts, pork liver and most green leafy vegetables stand out above all.

As we briefly indicated in the previous lines, folic acid is very important before becoming pregnant, as it helps prevent deformations in the placenta, which would ultimately lead to abortion.

During pregnancy, folic acid or vitamin B9 helps in the prevention of birth defects in the brain (anencephaly) and the cerebral spine (spina bifida, which can cause paralysis of the lower body), due to the bad closure of the neural tube at the cephalic and caudal ends.

In relation to the mother having a folic acid deficiency, she may suffer eclampsia, which consists of a process that occurs in albumina (presence of albumin in the urine) and hypertension.

Also the future mother should pay attention that the fetus does not suffer from folic acid deficiency during pregnancy, as it can cause premature birth, low birth weight, or megaloblastic anemia.

That is, in short, in the fetus or baby it brings many benefits, since it helps to:

  • Prevent deformations in the placenta.
  • Prevent birth defects in the brain (anencephaly).
  • Prevent birth defects in the spine (spina bifida).
  • Prevent cleft lip.
  • Prevent cleft palate.
  • Prevent childhood leukemia.
  • Prevent premature birth.
  • Prevent low birth weight.
  • Prevent anemia.

But in the future mother it also brings many benefits. In fact, it is essential to prevent eclampsia, which occurs with hypertension and albumina.

Recommended daily amounts of folic acid

Age (pg / day)
0 – 12 months 50
13 years 70
46 years 100
7 – 10 years 150
11 years 200
Pregnancy 300
Lactation 260

Where to find folic acid: the richest foods

Whole grains

They provide fiber as well as a good amount of folic acid. We can highlight in this sense the puffed wheat flakes or the whole grains themselves.

Green leafy vegetables

Vegetables such as lettuce, endives, watercress, cabbage, chard or arugula stand out above all.

Nor can we forget other vegetables such as parsley, although it is true that its amount of folic acid tends to be somewhat lower than the aforementioned foods.

Vegetables

Legumes such as chickpeas, peas, beans or the beneficial soybeans are essential.

Fruit

They are ideal for maintaining good health and not gaining weight. Fruits such as orange, melon, banana or avocado stand out above all.

Nuts

Consuming a handful of dried fruits a day such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or chestnuts are ideal to prevent not only the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, but to increase the contribution of folic acid.

Food Folic acid
( ug /100 g)
Beer yeast 2.400
Wheat germ 310
Wheat bran 250
Walnuts 110
Pork liver 100
Green leafy vegetables 90
Germinated 80
Pan integral 39
Eggs 30
White bread 27
Fatty fish 27
Bananas 22
Potatoes 15

What are the contraindications of folic acid?

Folic acid is a vitamin considered safe as long as its consumption is limited to the recommended daily doses.

However, although its consumption is recommended from 3 months before pregnancy, and during pregnancy in the first trimester, some studies have found that taking folic acid supplements in the last trimester of pregnancy could be associated with the baby developing asthma.

Therefore, since its deficiency is much more serious before pregnancy and in the first trimester of gestation, its consumption would only be recommended during these two stages, then replacing it from the second and third trimester with another somewhat more moderate nutritional supplement (we always recommend consulting with your doctor at all times).

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