January 8th-14th is Folic Acid Awareness Month. It’s a great opportunity to discuss the importance of folic acid and its role in preventing birth defects. It’s also a good time to discuss pregnancy tests and prenatal care for the infant you’re carrying if you are, indeed, pregnant.
Staying Healthy for Women of All Ages
Dr. Wilburn of Genesis Women’s Health Services provides a number of women’s care services for patients of all ages. One that many women have come to rely on is nutrition during pregnancy. That’s how they learn about folate and why folic acid is essential for a baby’s growth and development while in the womb.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) occur and affect the spinal cord and brain of a baby whenever there isn’t enough folic acid present in the mother’s body. These types of defects occur before many women know that they are pregnant. That’s why women of childbearing age should start taking folic acid before trying to conceive.
Additional Benefits of Folic Acids
Folate also prevents a type of anemia as well as makes red blood cells. It helps produce, repair, and assist DNA to function. It also helps with rapid cell growth in the placenta which helps your baby develop.
Some natural sources of folate include dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, citrus fruits, avocado, beans, peas, and lentils. The more you consume these items, the more folate your body receives. If you can’t get enough folic acid into your diet, a prenatal vitamin helps.
Dr. Wilburn will help you determine the best course of action for you based on your body’s unique needs. January is a great time to discuss the need for folic acid in your diet. If you haven’t gotten pregnant yet but hope to, you’ll want to make sure you get enough folate through the foods you consume and the supplements you take.