I found out I was pregnant at 12 weeks, should I still take it?
You shouldn’t need to take folic acid because the neural tube should have closed by 12 weeks. However, continuing to take it throughout your pregnancy is not harmful. Therefore, if you are taking pregnancy multivitamin tablets that contain it, you can continue.
However, only 7% of women knew that folic acid should be taken before they become pregnant, and more than three-quarters say their doctors havent discussed the benefits of folic acid with them One in five of the women who said they didn’t take a daily multivitamin said they would be more likely to do so if their doctor advised it.
It is known that folic acid supplementation before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy lowers the risk of birth defects of the neural tube. Every year, 4,000 pregnancies are affected by such birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly, resulting in 2,500 to 3,000 U S. births annually. The leading cause of childhood paralysis is spina bifida, also known as an “open spine,” which develops when the backbone never fully closes. Anencephaly is marked by a severely underdeveloped brain and skull.
But according to Mills, “a multivitamin is still necessary because the amount that the average woman gets from fortified foods is not the amount that will give her optimal protection.”
The FDA mandated in 1998 that all breads, pastas, rice, flour, cereal, and other cereal grain products be fortified at a rate of 140 micrograms per 100 grams of grain because many women were not taking a daily supplement containing folic acid. Since then, there has been a 19% drop in neural tube defects, according to a study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
“The biggest point to make is that you can prevent some very devastating birth defects by taking folic acid before you get pregnant, and half of all pregnancies are unplanned, so you have to do it before,” says James Mills, MD, MS, chief of the pediatric epidemiology section at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland. “Folic acid prevents some very devastating birth defects. You shouldn’t presume that you won’t become pregnant before you want to “.
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.