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Folic Acid Use in Pregnancy
Taking some precautions before pregnancy occurs to give birth to a healthy baby can provide important contributions to a healthy pregnancy process and the baby. One of the most important ways to prevent Central Nervous System anomalies that may develop in babies in the womb is to take enough folic acid every day, starting 2-3 months before conception and continuing until the early stages of pregnancy. The benefits of folic acid are very high in the prevention of Central Nervous System anomalies.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid, or folate, is a B-group vitamin commonly found in dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, but also in legumes and fortified grains such as peas and beans.
Video-1: Folic Acid Use in Pregnancy.
The use of folic acid, which has positive effects in the treatment process of many diseases, is also very important during pregnancy. The side effects of this nutritional component do not have serious consequences. An excess of folic acid can increase bacterial growth on the intestinal surface. The decrease in the amount of folic acid is detected by symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. The use of folic acid at a balanced level is important for the health of both the mother and the baby.
Why Is Folic Acid Consumption Important During Pregnancy?
Consuming folic acid at the required level during pregnancy helps prevent birth defects (neural tube defects) that may occur in the developing baby's spinal cord and brain. The most common neural tube defects are:
- Spina Bifida: occurs when the spinal cord and backbone of the spine are not fully closed.
- Anencephaly: occurs when the skull, scalp, and brain do not fit together the way they should. It is defined as a brain defect that occurs in relation to the failure of the brain to develop.
- Encephalocele: occurs when brain tissue protrudes through an opening in the skull.
These defects develop during the first 28 days of pregnancy, often when a woman is not even aware that she is pregnant. For this reason, it is very important not only for women who want to become pregnant, but also for all women of childbearing age to consume enough folic acid in terms of folic acid supplementation. Exactly for this reason, many countries in the world, daily consumed bread, cake, etc. It adds folic acid to the products. Women who plan to become pregnant under the control of the relevant doctor should take folic acid supplementation starting 2-3 months before conception and continuing into the third month (12 weeks) of pregnancy. During periods of extra need, it may be necessary to use folic acid pills under the supervision of a doctor.
What Are the Benefits of Folic Acid?
Women who are pregnant or intending to become pregnant should consume at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day before and for at least 3 months after conception. Studies have shown that this amount halves the risk of serious neural tube defects in the developing baby. Taking advantage of the use of folic acid is especially important for mothers who have given birth with neural tube defects in the past, and women who have given birth to a neural tube defect (central nervous system anomaly) should plan their next pregnancy with 5 mg of folic acid, which is about 12 times the recommended 0.4 mg for everyone. acid is recommended.
How Should Folic Acid Be Used During Pregnancy?
Folic acid supplementation is recommended starting two to three months before conception and for the first three months after conception. Because the need for folic acid for increased cell division mechanisms in the baby in the womb increases during pregnancy. Parents planning to conceive in the near future should use an average of 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. Determining the appropriate amounts according to the need in the presence of a doctor is the best step for the health of both the mother and the baby.
Pregnant candidates and pregnant women who have epilepsy and use epilepsy medication (antiepileptic) are recommended to consume 5 mg of folic acid daily. If these patients use folic acid in high doses, a decrease in the effect of antiepileptic drugs may be observed. Follow-up of folic acid use in epilepsy patients should be done regularly. This vitamin, which has a large share in cell growth and development and tissue formation, is also important in maintaining healthy and normal blood values. Folic acid use should continue until the 12th week of pregnancy is over.
Which Foods Contain Folic Acid?
Fresh green leafy vegetables can be shown as the most basic source of folic acid. Since the nutritional value of vegetables that are cooked for a long-time decrease, it is necessary not to overdo it when cooking these vegetables. However, folic acid needs can be met with some organ meats, hazelnuts, walnuts, and legumes. The use of folic acid during pregnancy can also be supported with cereal products.
In some cases, although various foods are consumed, the need for folic acid may not be met. In such cases, taking supplements from folic acid pills is a logical solution.