Folic Acid During Pregnancy – Why Is It Important? Folic Acid, also known as “Folate”, is a form of Vitamin B9, a water-soluble vitamin – which means the body does not store them. Folic acid is needed for appropriate development of the human body. It aids in the production of body’s genetic material and is involved in numerous other bodily functions. It is critical for the rapid growth of cells and tissues such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. Folic acid also helps iron work properly in the body and it works with Vitamin B12 to make red blood cells.
When should you start taking Folic Acid?
If you’re pregnant or might become pregnant, it’s important to get enough folic acid. Gynecologists highly recommend that you start taking folic acid supplements every day for at least 1 month before you become pregnant. Better if you start 3 months in advance. If you find you are pregnant and have not been taking folic acid, you should start now to help prevent any neural defects in the first three months of pregnancy.
Why before pregnancy?
Doctors say only about 50% of pregnancies are planned. Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. Neural tube is formed at a very early stage of foetus development and may occur way before you even know you are pregnant. Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord by 50% to 70%.
So, it’s important to have folate in your system during those early stages, first 12 weeks of preg