What is folic acid: the use of folic acid in pregnancy


Many couples have heard that folic acid is useful for fertility while planning to conceive. And also about the need to take folic acid in pregnancy. But the attitude to this recommendation of the World Health Organization is more likely at the level of “yes, we need to take vitamins and it seems that they say about folic acid that it is absolutely necessary.” Meanwhile, taking the substance 3 months before conception and during gestation prevents a number of fetal pathologies in 75% of cases. So, in this article, we will reveal the true value of folate for fertility and use of folic acid in pregnancy.

Folic acid for fertility: use before conception

Folic acid (aka vitamin B9) is a vital element for the creation, formation and maintenance of new cells. And if we consider that the development of the fetus is the creation, formation and maintenance of a large number of new cells, it becomes clear that folic acid in pregnancy is absolutely necessary.

As for the thesis folic acid helps to get pregnant, it really is. Vitamin B9 reduces the number of anovulatory cycles, which occur about twice a year in perfectly healthy women. Folic acid helps to conceive by reducing the number of such cycles in women planning to conceive by 40%. In addition, vitamin B9 improves the quality of the egg, increasing its ability to fertilize.

In order for folic acid to help get pregnant, it is prescribed 3 months before conception at a dosage of 400 mcg / day. The usual daily requirement for vitamin B9 is two times less – 200 mcg / day. An increased dose in the period before conception and the use of folic acid in pregnancy are necessary because the formation of the main organs and systems of the child occurs in the first trimester immediately after conception. The only source of B9 for the child is the mother’s body, therefore, it is necessary to create a reserve to prevent deficiency in the early stages of development. Processes requiring the use of folic acid in pregnancy:

  1. Formation of DNA.
  2. Formation and division of cells.
  3. Hematopoiesis (formation, development and maturation of blood cells);
  4. Formation of metabolism.

These are not all processes. To be more specific, B9 helps to avoid many defects in the development of the fetus and pathological conditions of the mother: miscarriage, placental abruption, premature birth, maternal and fetal anemia, severe CNS lesions (mental retardation, hydrocephalus, cleft palate, many neural tube defects).

B9 deficiency also adversely affects the maternal body. Here are some of the symptoms that are often perceived as common pregnancy complications:

  • Pallor of the skin;
  • Skin rash;
  • Increased fatigue;
  • Frequent mood swings;
  • Decreased concentration of attention;
  • Loss of memory.

Any changes in the condition must be strictly discussed with the doctor in order to be able to take preventive and corrective measures in time.

Folic acid in pregnancy: sources

Getting the right amount of folic acid in pregnancy or any other period from food is almost impossible. However, we will list the products that contain it:

  • Peanuts;
  • Liver;
  • Beans, spinach;
  • Walnuts and hazelnuts, almonds;
  • Broccoli, wild garlic, lettuce, leeks;
  • Barley groats;
  • Champignons;
  • Fruit.

For better absorption, it is recommended to combine the intake of synthetic vitamin B9 with the intake of folate  for a healthier and safer pregnancy.

Folate and pregnancy: why is this the best possible

Folates are active and natural derivatives of folic acid. Translated from the Latin Folium – leaves, because green leaves are a source of natural, highly concentrated vitamin B9. It is this form of folic acid that enters the body as a ready-to-digest molecule. This form does not need any transformation or additional processing. The nuance is that the MTHFR enzyme is needed to convert laboratory synthetic folic acid into a digestible form. About 25-30 percent of the population has a damaged or partially functioning MTHFR. Accordingly, the assimilation of vitamin B9 is difficult. Therefore, include green leaves in your diet so that the folate is absorbed and the pregnancy goes smoothly.

Interesting fact: in some women, the folate content is optimal. They do not need B9 intake before conception, and they do not need folate in pregnancy.

In any case, the decision to prescribe or not prescribe additional medications should be made by the doctor based on the test results.

The dosage of B9 before conception, during gestation and during lactation is different. The maximum dose of 400 mcg / day is advisable during the period of preparation for conception. During pregnancy, it is regulated by a doctor. During lactation, 100 mcg / day is usually required above the age norm.

In rare cases of overdose, the following symptoms are noticed: tremors, nervousness for no apparent reason, allergic reactions, palpitations. Severe B9 hypervitaminosis can cause kidney problems. But it is extremely difficult to bring to such a state. If you experience these symptoms, report them to your doctor immediately.

Summing up the article, we remind you: in no case do not engage in self-assignments. See a doctor, get a prescription for tests. On the basis of these results, the doctor will be able to prescribe an adequate dosage and duration of the treatment, taking into account objective indicators, your tasks, diet.

Important: according to recent studies, an overdose of B9 negatively affects the development of the fetus, causing growth disorders, increasing the risk of congenital asthma and autism.

Thus, we call you for intelligent planning of conception, coordinate your actions with the recommendations of doctors and calmly wait for the onset of a healthy pregnancy.

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