Have a Healthy Pregnancy - The Importance of Folic Acid

January 6, 2017

Folic acid is a B-Vitamin recommended to be taken before and during a pregnancy and is necessary for proper cell growth for babies. Jan. 8-12 is a national observance to raise the awareness on the importance of the vitamin.

According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, if taken before and during early pregnancy, folic acid can prevent up to 70% of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects. The CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service recommend that all pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 45 consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to prevent two types of neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly.

Most commonly those particular birth defects develop within the early stages of a pregnancy, typically during the first few weeks, before a woman may even know she is pregnant. As soon as a woman finds out she is expecting, it is important to begin a folic acid intake.

“If you are planning on becoming pregnant, I recommend taking folic acid at least a month before trying to conceive,” said Joseph Niner, MD, Haywood Women’s Medical Center.

Ways to get the necessary folic acid:

  • A fast way to ensure you are getting the required folic acid amount is to take a multi-vitamin daily. Read the labels to be sure it contains 400 mcg. Different brands may have different dosage amounts per vitamin.
  • Many breakfast cereals contain 100% of the daily amount of folic acid. Read the labels and find the ones that satisfy your pregnancy taste buds.
  • Make it yummy! Give your vitamin intake a boost by mixing together a healthy fruit smoothie. Mix one banana, ½ cup mango, ½ cup pineapple juice, and ice.

Make it easy to remember by taking your vitamin at the same time every day, when you:

  • Brush your teeth
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to bed

Or set a daily alarm to help you remember on your smartphone or tablet.

Follow the advice from your primary care provider about your pregnancy health. Need a doctor? Make an appointment with Haywood Women’s Medical Center at 828.452.5042 today or visit www.HaywoodWomensCare.com.  If you need a primary care provider, call our Physician Referral Line at 800.424.DOCS (3627) or visit MyHaywoodRegional.com/FindaDoc.

Haywood Women’s Medical Center is an OB/GYN practice located in Clyde on the campus of HRMC.  Services at the practice include obstetrics, well-women gynecological exams, adolescent gynecological care, ultrasounds, minimally invasive hysterectomy, abnormal pap smear treatments, endometrial ablation, infertility evaluation, breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive management including IUDs, hormone replacement, premenopausal symptoms, laparoscopic surgery, incontinence, pelvic pain, pelvic prolapse, and treatment of menstrual disorders.