What Are the Benefits of Folic Acid?
Pregnant or trying to get pregnant women should consume at least 400 micrograms (0 4 milligrams) of folic acid daily, both before and after conception, for at least three months. Studies reveal that doing so substantially lowers a baby’s risk of having serious neural tube defects.
Neural tube defects are birth defects that result in the brain and spinal cord’s incomplete development. The most common neural tube defects are:
These defects occur within the first 28 days of pregnancy, frequently before the mother even realizes she is expecting.
For this reason, it’s crucial for all women of childbearing age to consume enough folic acid (FOE-lik), not just those who are trying to conceive. Anyone who may become pregnant should take care to consume enough folic acid because half of pregnancies are unplanned.
Why folic acid has such a significant impact on preventing neural tube defects is unclear. However, experts are aware of its significance for DNA development. Folic acid thus has a significant impact on tissue formation, cell growth, and development.
Video: Should I take supplements during my pregnancy?
A midwife describes which supplements you can take while pregnant in this video.
Vegetarian, vegan and special diets in pregnancy
During pregnancy, a varied and balanced vegetarian diet should supply enough nutrients for both you and your unborn child.
However, it might be more challenging for you to consume enough iron and vitamin B12.
Consult a midwife or physician to learn how to ensure that you are getting enough of these vital nutrients.
Speak to a midwife or GP if you are vegan or if you have a restricted diet due to a food intolerance (for example, a gluten-free diet for coeliac disease) or for religious reasons.
To ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need for you and your unborn child, request a referral to a dietitian.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan while pregnant, learn more about healthy eating.
If you are pregnant, have a child under the age of 4, receive certain benefits, or are pregnant and under the age of 18, the Healthy Start program may be able to assist you in purchasing food and milk.
If you qualify, a Healthy Start card will be sent to you, which you can use to purchase specific types of milk, infant formula, fruit, and vegetables.
You can also use your card to get free vitamins.
If you are not qualified for the Healthy Start program, some NHS organizations still sell or give away vitamins. Ask a midwife about whats available in your area.