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Health benefits of folic acid?

Many women start thinking about the health benefits of folic acid when they first get pregnant. It is likely that their doctor or midwife will prescribe them a folic acid supplement as soon as they tell them that they are pregnant. It is so important, that it is often recommended that you take it when you are trying for a baby. This ensures that you have enough when you fall pregnant because you need it for the very early stages of pregnancy, when you may not even realize that you are pregnant.

Folic acid is a vitamin

Folic acid is a vitamin that the body uses to make new red blood cells. The body does not store very much of it so there may not be enough for the baby. It is especially important in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy which is when the spinal cord is being formed. This takes a lot of new cells and if it is not formed properly it can lead to spina bifida or other neural tube defects.

Healthy balanced diet

As well as taking a supplement, Mothers to be are advised to also eat a healthy balanced diet including foods that are high in folic acid such as supplemented breakfast cereals, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, green beans, wholemeal bread and broccoli. There are no problems with having too much folic acid as the body will get rid of any excess so it is best to try to have as much as you can.

Neural tube defect

If you are at higher risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, perhaps due to a family history or previous children have had it, then you will be advised to take a higher dosage of supplement. You may also have a higher dose if you are taking certain medications.

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