Folic Acid: What’s the Big Deal

During pregnancy, moms hear A LOT about folic acid and its importance as a supplement. But you don’t always hear the correct education about it, or WHY it’s all we hear about. Don’t fret! Here’s a complete break down on folic acid: what it is, what it’s good for and why you need to be taking it … like NOW.

What Is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is a form of the vitamin B9 and is a key ingredient in the making of the nucleic acid that forms part of all genetic material. In fact, Vitamin B9 and all its forms carry out the crucial functions of creating more blood cells, preventing hearing loss and supporting infant development. Sounds pretty important, right?

Why Is It Necessary for Pregnancy?

Folic acid is absolutely vital for the proper development of your little one, especially in the first weeks of pregnancy. During the first 28 days alone, the spine comes together to cover the spinal cord and surrounding tissues. Folic acid supports this process and reduces the chance of neural tube defects (think spina bifida) by up to 80 percent.

Additionally, during the rest of the first trimester, folic acid is working overtime to help prevent cleft palate, promote proper development of the brain and skull, support red blood cell production and proper cell division, as well as support healthy bone formation. Which leads to the next question…

When Do I Need to Take It?

Ideally, expecting moms need to start supplementing with folic acid as soon as they start the process of trying to conceive and continue up to 12 weeks. Most don’t know they’re pregnant until several weeks in, meaning those vital processes have already begun to take place–it’s important to be sure you’re supporting all of those important formations!

If your little one was a surprise miracle, don’t fret. Just start taking the supplements as soon as possible.  Work to make sure you’re getting 400 micrograms every day.  You can even find folic acid in a great number of foods like lentils, avocados, broccoli, kale, squashes and more. Once you know you need it, it’s easy to meet the daily requirement.

Mamas, everyone may talk about it already, but we can’t stress the importance of folic acid enough.  When you’re growing your little one, you’ll need all the support you can get! 

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