Adequate and balanced nutrition is very important in every period of our life, as well as adequate and balanced nutrition in special periods of our life, such as during pregnancy. Because the nutrient requirements of the fetus increase during pregnancy. Meeting these increasing needs is important for the healthy development of the baby.
Did you know that one of the nutrients whose need increases during pregnancy is "folic acid"? Let's take a closer look at this vitamin, which is very important during pregnancy.
Folate is the vitamin B9 naturally found in foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin, it is included in nutritional supplements and enriched foods. Folate, which we take naturally with food, is used at a rate of 50% in our body, while folic acid, which we take as a supplement, is used at a rate of 85% in our body.
So why is folic acid intake so important during pregnancy?
Folic acid plays a protective role against neural tube defects:
It is known that adequate folic acid use by the mother before and during pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of neural tube defects that may occur in the nervous system of the fetus. It has been proven by studies that the use of folic acid at least one month before pregnancy and in the first 3 months of pregnancy reduces neural tube defects by up to 70%.
Folic acid plays an important role in the cell cycle:
Folic acid plays a very important role in the cell cycle. Therefore, adequate intake of folic acid is especially important during pregnancy, when rapid cell division and growth occur.
Folic acid is important for the development of the baby:
It has been determined that the use of folic acid by expectant mothers during pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of intrauterine growth retardation.
Prevents postpartum depression:
In a study conducted in Switzerland on mothers who used folic acid during pregnancy, it was observed that postpartum depression was observed in 24.9% of individuals, and the prevalence of postpartum depression was significantly lower in individuals using folic acid supplementation for more than 6 months compared to individuals using folic acid supplementation for 6 months or less.
Should You Take Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy?
It is thought that around 350 mcg of folic acid is taken daily with food in our country. However, assuming that 30% of folic acid is lost, it turns out that women cannot take the recommended amount of folic acid with their daily diets before and during pregnancy. Considering that the daily folic acid requirement increases during pregnancy, it is difficult to meet the daily folic acid requirement even if a diet rich in folic acid is applied. For this reason, it is important for all women of reproductive age to take folic acid supplements in order to meet their daily folic acid needs and to prevent the formation of neural tube defects.
How Much Should You Take Daily Folic Acid During Pregnancy?
World Health Organization; recommends every woman to consume 400 mcg folic acid daily and to consume foods rich in folic acid. With a planned pregnancy, folic acid supplementation (400 mcg/day) should be started before pregnancy and it should be continued during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
What Are Folate-Rich Foods?
Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, oranges, grapefruit, peanuts and almonds are among the rich sources of folic acid.