When you are entering the phase of pregnancy or you are planning to become pregnant in closer time, it is important for you to consume folic acid. Getting enough amount of folic acid in this state is critical need. This synthetic vitamin B9 form is also called as folate. So, do not get confused by the different term used of folic acid or folate. Both of them offer the same effects. This kind of vitamin is important for metabolism and cell growth. Even though folic acid is very important to take, some studies showed that there are still a lot of people who do not get this folate in enough amounts. So, how much folic acid do you need when pregnant? You are going to know further about this folic acid in the following explanation.
How Much Folic Acid Do You Need When Pregnant: Right Timing, Dosage, Benefits, and Foods with Good Source of Folic Acid
- What kind of vitamin is folic acid?
Folate is generic term for folic acid and food folate which is occurring naturally. Formerly, it is known as folacin. Folic acid is monoglutamate form of vitamin which has been fully oxidized. It is usually used in fortified foods and dietary supplements. This man-made form of vitamin B has important role to produce cells of red blood as well as to help neural tube of your baby develops into spinal cord and brain. Fortified cereal are very good sources of this vitamin. You can find this folic acid naturally in citrus fruits and some vegetables with dark green color.
- How much folic acid do you need when pregnant?
To know how much folic acid do you need when pregnant; the dose recommended for women in childbearing age is as much as 400 mcg of folic acid per day. If you are going to take multivitamin daily, you can check it to see whether it has recommended amount or not. If there is a reason you have to not taking any multivitamin, you can take the supplement of folic acid.
In term of pregnancy, you need folic acid as much as 400 mcg while you try to conceive. When you get pregnant, the amount needed is still the same during the first three months. When you are in the fourth until ninth month of pregnancy, you have to add the dose. During those months you should take 600 mcg of folic acid. Meanwhile, after the baby is born and you are breastfeeding, the right amount of folic acid you need is 500 mcg.
There are some signs appeared when you have deficiency of folic acid. The signs could be subtle. When this happens, the signs you probably have are such as anemia, diarrhea, appetite loss, weakness, weight loss, sore tongue, heart palpitation, irritability, and headaches.
- The right time to take folic acid
Since folate is important, you should know when to start taking it in the right time. You need to take this vitamin in early stages of pregnancy. Birth defects can occur during the first three weeks or four of your pregnancy phase. Thus, you should take it during this stage when the baby’s spinal cord and brain are developing.
If you are going to try to conceive, you should start taking prenatal vitamin of folic acid. There is also a study which showed that women who take folic acid one year before they are pregnant, the chance for delivering early can be cut by fifty percent or even more. If you pick prenatal vitamin by yourself, you have to make sure that the prenatal vitamins have recommended amount as you need. For your information, every prenatal vitamin is not same. Some of them may have more or less mineral and vitamin you need.
You are also recommended to start taking this beneficial vitamin daily for a month before becoming pregnant. You need to take it every day as well during your pregnancy phase.
- What benefits you can get from folic acid?
After knowing of how much folic acid do you need when pregnant, there are some benefits of this vitamin that will be explained to you. If your body does not get folate in enough amounts, the neural tube of your baby might be not close correctly. The baby could also develop health problem of neural tube defects including anencephaly and spina bifida. Usually, baby with anencephaly cannot live long. As for those who have spina bifida they might be disabled permanently. That is why you have to get enough folate in order to protect the baby from this defect up to fifty percent.
However, if you already have baby with neural tube defect you can consume enough folate in order to reduce the risk for having other child with the same defect by 70%. If you are already in this kind of circumstance, you need to increase folic acid you take daily. You should consume 4mg or 4000mcg per day. However, you better have consultation with doctor to know how much folate to take.
When you take folic acid before pregnancy as well as during pregnancy, you may protect the baby against premature birth, cleft palate and lip, miscarriage, poor growth of baby inside the womb, and baby’s low weight when born.
- Foods with good sources of folic acid
There are some kinds of food that have good sources of folic acid. Nevertheless, food with naturally rich folate is not good source either. There is a research which showed that body can absorb folate form supplements better than folate from certain natural food. Besides, folic acid in food can be lost due to cooking process or storage.
However, natural food with rich folic acid can help getting it more. How much folic acid do you need when pregnant from this food? To get 400 mcg of folate, you can have breakfast with fortified cereals that contains of a hundred percent the DV. Take it as much as ¾ cups. Other good foods are such as beef liver, spinach, lentils, and egg noodles.