No doubt you’ve heard of folic acid, but do you know what it does? Folic Acid, or folate, is a B vitamin that helps prevent brain and spinal cord birth defects.
“I advise pregnant women take at least 1000 mcg of folic acid before and during pregnancy,” an obstetrics physician at Women’s Health and Menopause Center. “Birth defects generally occur in the first three to four weeks of pregnancy, so it’s important to speak with your physician if you’re thinking about getting pregnant. Your doctor will help get you started with a prenatal vitamin regimen.”
Based on the analysis of a study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in addition to helping prevent birth defects, folic acid helps reduce a woman’s chance of premature delivery by more than 50 percent. Folic acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells, and assists in the development of the neural tube into the fetus’ brain and spinal cord. Without folic acid a baby’s neural tube may fail to close, resulting in heart problems, spina bifida or anencephaly, the incomplete development of major parts of the brain.
The best way to get your 1000 mcg of folic acid a day is through fortified cereal (look for 100% of the daily value on the box), like Kellogg’s All-Bran, Kashi Heart to Heart Toasted Oat, Multigrain Cheerios and Quaker Oatmeal Squares. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has compiled a list of 32 cereals that contain the recommended daily amount of folic acid. You can view it here.
We recommend women take 1000 mcg when she is trying to conceive and during the first three months of pregnancy.
To speak with a Women’s Health and Menopause Center obstetrician to get you on the right folic acid track, call 248-932-9223 for your next appointment.
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