Folic acid in the first trimester of pregnancy: Its role and importance

Folic acid in the first trimester of pregnancy: Its role and importance

Pregnant women are often advised to take folic acid in the first trimester of pregnancy as it supports the baby’s earliest development, making it a key nutrient. Here’s more about it.

Folic acid or folate (vitamin B9) is a key nutrient naturally found in a wide variety of food. Folate is known to play an essential role in the body, especially before and during pregnancy. Folic acid helps the body make new cells and produce DNA. It is required to maintain normal growth and development throughout your life.

Most pregnant women consume folic acid as advised by their doctors, for the development of the fetus. Folate deficiency can cause abnormalities in both the mother and fetus.

(Pic credit- freepik)

What is folic acid?

Folic acid or folate is a type of vitamin B that is commonly found in fortified food and other supplements. It is also present in green vegetables and citrus fruits.

What are the benefits of taking folic acid while pregnant?

Taking folic acid has several benefits, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Let’s go through some key advantages:

1. Lowers risk of low-birth-weight problems
Regular folate intake helps decrease the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes like low birth weight and preterm delivery.

2. Prevents neural tube defects
One of the most important roles folic acid plays during pregnancy is in preventing neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly- which can cause a range of disabilities that may affect the development, mobility, and overall health of the baby.

3. Good for the mother
Adequate intake of folic acid during pregnancy is beneficial for the expectant mother as it helps prevent diseases like pre-eclampsia, heart disease, cancers, and Alzheimer’s.

5. Produces red blood cells
Folate consumption boosts the production of red blood cells in the body. This is especially necessary during pregnancy to prevent iron deficiency.


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