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Benefits of FOLIC ACID during pregnancy

 Folic acid is a pregnancy superhero! Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby's brain and spinal cord.  It’s important for the proper organ development of a developing baby.

Folate plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby's neural tube develop into their brain and spinal cord. 

Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it's important to have folate in your system during those early stages when your baby's brain and spinal cord are developing.

If you talked to your doctor when you were trying to conceive, they probably told you to start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. One study showed that women who took folic acid for at least a year before getting pregnant cut their chances of delivering early by 50% or more.

The CDC recommends that you start taking folic acid every day for at least a month before you become pregnant, and every day while you are pregnant.

If you picked out your own prenatal vitamin, take it to your OB once you're pregnant to make sure it has the recommended amounts of everything you need, including folic acid. 

Folic acid foods during pregnancy:

1.   1. Fortified breakfast cereals – like Cornflakes. Read the box to check.

2. Orange juice – though limit your daily intake as it has a high glycemic load. Dilute with water and try other citrus fruits.

3. Fresh peas – classic, cheap, and versatile.

4. Potatoes – but remember that white carbohydrates can max out blood-sugar levels.

5. Spinach – and don’t worry about the vitamin-A content because it’s the good sort. Dark leafy greens have lots of folates.

6. Broccoli – try steaming it to keep the nutrients in.

7. Bananas – but watch that sugar content. Half a banana is best.

8. Peanuts – and yes, they are safe to eat in moderation during pregnancy.

9. Baked beans – perfect with wholegrain toast and a hot cup of tea.

10. Wheatgerm – buy the powder and sprinkle on your morning cereal.

11. Kiwi fruit – best in fruit salads or with ice cream.

12. Kale – not everyone’s favorite but the king of veg. 

13. Brussels sprouts – now available all year round, not just at Christmas.

14. Marmite – the cult yeast-extract spread has quite a lot of folic acid in it.

15. Pork and poultry – occasional cooked meat is great for pregnant women.

16. Black-eyed beans – cheap canned ones are fine. Perfect in salads or with omelets. Also, try other pulses like lentils and kidney beans.

17. Tofu – soy-based foods are a great source of folic acid.

18. Avocados – a superfood beyond compare.

19. Asparagus – classy, seasonal, and containing copious amounts of folic acid.

20. Okra – no longer an Indian-restaurant delicacy, okra has gone mainstream.

There’s no guarantee that you will get enough folic acid from food alone, so a supplement is important.

If you have morning sickness in early pregnancy, it may be difficult to eat enough fortified foods to get the folic acid you need.

To make sure you get enough folic acid, doctors will usually recommend taking a folic acid supplement or a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid before and during pregnancy.

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