Folic Acid and Pregnancy

Folic acid and  pregnancy, go hand in hand.  Folic acid are supplements that is essential to prevent Neural Tube Defects in pregnancy.

Neural tube development occurs during the early stages of pregnancy... usually    between 1  -  6 weeks of conception. Unfortunately, this is the time when most   women, may not even know, that they are pregnant.

 Neural tube defects are abnormally developed spine, spinal cord and the brain.
The commonest forms of this anomaly are Spina bifida and Anencephaly

 For how long...? every young lady within the childbearing age, is encouraged to   take supplements or multivitamins that contains about 0.4  to  0.8 mg of Folic Acid.

This is supported / suggested by:

Some of the foods are fortified in Canada, United States and other developed nations around the world.

Whether you are on birth control or not, but there is a potential that you may become pregnant... that is, you are sexually active. It is strongly suggested that you take multivitamins or supplement that contains folic acid on regular basis, to avoid the first occurrence of neural tube defects in your family.

There is no evidence, to suggest, the use of folic acid to get pregnant...but it will surely aid and support your pregnancy and growing fetus.

Your body needs folic acid to produce red blood cells and other elements for the developing fetus.

 Difference between Folate and Folic Acid

Folate and Folic acid are part of the Vitamin B family.

Both folate and folic acid are water soluble....they are both Vitamin B 9

--Folate occurs naturally in green leafy vegetables like spinach, or beef liver, asparagus, okra, oranges...etc.

--Folic acid is the man-made or synthetic form of Vitamin B 9

Folic acid is added to food items (fortified foods).

It is more readily absorbed in the blood stream after it is taken orally in comparison to Folate.

Keep in mind, the absorption and the availability of this important supplements depend on:

  • How it is taken
  • How the Folate food is is heat sensitive
  • whether the food item is cooked or eaten raw
  • Whether the individual has a medical problem like Crohns disease, Celiac disease or bowel surgery.... which will affect its absorption.

 Also be aware.... Folic Acid and Folate are used interchangeably...

List of Foods with Folate

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cowpeas
  • Beef liver
  • Avocado
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Oranges
  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Cantaloupe
  • Asparagus
  • Lentils
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Black eye peas
  • Kidney beans       

 List of Folic Acid Foods

  • Fortified Breakfast Cereals
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Spaghetti
  • Rice
  • Tortilla flour
  • Enriched bread
  • Peanut butter

Other foods with folic acid are.... Tofu, tomato juice, infant formula,

For how much...? the suggested dosage, depending on your medical conditions varies from 0.4 to  4mg, taken at least four weeks before conception and throughout your pregnancy.

You will need a prescription for any Folic acid greater than 1 mg (one), in most cases.  Your qualified medical doctor will let you know how much exactly you need to take.... DO NOT TAKE MORE than what is prescribed for you...too much of it can be dangerous to you and your baby in the womb.

 It is important for you to know, that some people with conditions like...

  • Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
  • Epilepsy or Seizures
  • Obesity.... Body Mass Index  greater than  35
  • Smokers
  • Family history of Neural Tube Defects...

...will need a special order or prescription for folic acid... also, if you have any of the above condition, your doctor may monitor your blood folate levels to ensure   your medical condition does not decrease your folate levels.

  "In a recent study of Maternal Peri-conceptional Folic Acid intake and Risk of Autism" ....when an average of 600 mcg of Folic Acid was taken...  there was reduced risk of Autism.

 Folic Acid Side Effects

 Folic acid side effects are not common... if you take the low doses like 0.4 mg...(400 mcg) every day...

But in high doses... the common side effects are:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Body rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion

     Other severe Folic Acid side effects are:
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling or inflammations in the mouth and the body
  • Sleep disturbances...

You are aware, that any of the above signs or symptoms... the side effects, of folic acid, should be reported to your doctor right away....

Folic acid and pregnancy are good partners in the delivery of healthy baby, it is best to start taking it before you conceive, and throughout your conception.


           Pregnancy Foods to avoid


           Chronic Hypertension

           Hypertension and Pregnancy