Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects that can affect a baby’s brain and spine
The physicians at Athens ObGyn want women of childbearing age to understand the importance of folic acid, which is a type of folate. Folate is a form of vitamin B that’s found in certain foods. In the early weeks of pregnancy, this nutrient helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, by as much as 70%.
Supplements containing folic acid are important before and during pregnancy
All women should take supplements containing folic acid during their childbearing years. Women who do not plan to get pregnant benefit from this supplement because it helps prevent folate-deficiency anemia. If women are sexually active, taking this supplement helps prevent neural tube defects that might occur during early pregnancy when women may not even know they are pregnant.
The physicians at Athens ObGyn recommend the following supplemental doses.
- A woman should take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
- If a woman is pregnant or planning to get pregnant, she should take prenatal vitamins that contain 600 micrograms.
- Women who have had a baby with a neural tube defect should talk to our physicians about their supplement dosages.
Women can also eat certain foods that contain folate
Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B found in certain foods. Women can incorporate these foods into their preconception and prenatal diets.
- Leafy greens like spinach
- Peas, beans and lentils
- Cereal, bread, pasta, rice and other foods that are fortified or enriched with folate
- Beef liver
- Citrus fruits
- Orange juice
The physicians at Athens ObGyn provide the most up-to-date pregnancy care
When women begin to consider getting pregnant, they should schedule a preconception planning visit. At this appointment, they’ll learn more about folic acid, nutrition and lifestyle changes that can promote a healthy pregnancy. The visit also allows our physicians to get acquainted with patients before pregnancy.
Our prenatal care is top-notch and regular prenatal visits help mothers and babies stay healthy during pregnancy and birth. If women have a high-risk pregnancy, our obstetrics team has the training, skill and expertise to help them through every step of their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about Athens ObGyn.