Pregnancy is a blissful phase in every woman’s life. Pregnancy is all about creating a new life. A lot of new cells and genetic material involves creating a baby. Folic acid is crucial in the formation of cells and other genetic material. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which is a naturally occurring B vitamin. Folic acid has many benefits in prenatal health. Folate is present in food while folic acid is a man-made form of this important vitamin.
Folic acid benefits health in many ways. As a medication, folic acid is used to treat certain types of anaemia. Folic acid is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. Maintaining healthy levels of folic acid during pregnancy is very important. Folic acid deficiency during pregnancy may increase the chances of premature delivery or a low weight birth.
In this article, we will explain the benefits and side effects of folic acid during pregnancy. Here, we will also explain the precautions that you should take while using folic acid.
Folic Acid is very important for pregnancy. Folic acid is one of the most important baby making nutrients. Before and during pregnancy the body has to work overtime. It requires plenty of nutrients to build a baby. Folic acid use creates protein in our body and helps in Cells and DNA formation. Many studies have shown that folic acid use before pregnancy has important benefits. Take folic acid supplements for two or three months before planning pregnancy. You can continue until you are 12 weeks pregnant.
Those women who have folic acid deficiency have trouble getting and staying pregnant. Taking folic acid dosage before planning a pregnancy and during pregnancy reduces the risk of miscarriage.
Folic acid deficiency can cause spina bifida and anencephaly in the baby. Taking folic acid supplement before pregnancy can reduce the risk of these Neural tube defects by 70 per cent.
Folic acid supplements help to reduce the risk of congenital heart defects in babies.
Many women develop diabetes during pregnancy called gestational diabetes. Folic acid is recommended by doctors to cut the risk of gestational diabetes.
Folic acid benefits include reducing the risk of preterm labour. Folic acid deficiency can lead to preterm birth and low birth weight.
Folic acid use cures many defects in babies. Folic acid deficiency can cause autism in children. It helps in the brain development of the baby and reduces the risk of autism.
Folic acid is crucial for early fetal development.
A point to remember: Take folic acid supplement as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take larger amounts or for longer than recommended..- HERA
Excess of folic acid supplements may harm your health too. Although, these side effects are not serious. Most of the time excess folic acid passes through the urine because it is water soluble.
High folic acid uses can hide a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Our body uses folate and Vitamin B-12 very similarly. A deficiency in either of these two can show the same symptoms. Some studies show that folic acid supplements may hide vitamin B-12 deficiency which may cause megaloblastic anaemia. Deficiency of vitamin B-12 can cause weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
Studies suggest that high blood folate level but low Vitamin B-12 levels may accelerate age related mental decline. These people are 3.5 times more likely to experience loss of brain function.
Adequate folate in pregnancy is crucial for baby’s brain development. However, too much intake of folic acid supplement may increase insulin resistance. This can cause slower brain development in children.
According to studies folic acid protects healthy cells from becoming cancerous. But, exposing cancerous cells to folic acid may help them grow and spread. The risk may depend on the type of cancer and medical history.
In rare cases excess of folic acid use can cause a serious allergic reaction. It can cause skin redness and itchiness.
Hera pro tip: Eating folate rich foods like spinach, broccoli, okra, bananas, melons, beans, mushroom, meat and orange juice reduces the risk of cancer..- HERA
You should not use folic acid if you ever had an allergic reaction to it. If you have a certain disease then you should take folic acid as per doctor’s advice.
These diseases are as follows
If you are alcoholic, the dosages of other medications need to be changed while you are taking folic acid.
These medicines may affect folic acid intake-
Folic acid supplements are generally safe and very beneficial during pregnancy. Folic acid helps in cells and DNA creation. It reduces the risk of Spina bifida in babies. However, excess folic acid supplement intake may cause many side effects. Thus, Folic acid supplements should be taken under the guidance of a doctor.