This Doctor Reveals What You Have to Know about Folic Acid during Pregnancy
You're probably aware that folic acid is important during pregnancy, but did you know how important? In order to help women understand the importance of folic acid, January 8th through the 14th has been designated as Folic Acid Awareness Week. During this year's Folic Acid Awareness Week, EverydayFamily’s Shiloh Johnson interviewed women’s health specialist Dr. Lisa Masterson, MD, about prepping for pregnancy in this new year.
See the full interview here:
For the millions of women thinking about or trying to have a baby as the new year gets underway, there’s an important checklist to focus on for preconception health.
The checklist for preconception health includes:
- Take a daily multivitamin containing folic acid
- Discuss your health history and medical conditions with your doctor
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
- Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause an infection at work or home
Dr. Masterson emphasized that getting in to see your doctor before you become pregnant is important. Your doctor can help you work out a plan for what you need before, during, and after pregnancy. The main thing Dr. Masterson wanted to tell us about was the importance of getting enough folic acid in your system before and during your pregnancy.
Folic acid is especially important for those considering becoming pregnant since each year in the U.S. thousands of infants are born with neural tube defects (NTDs) like spina bifida and anencephaly. Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which parts of a baby's brain and skull do not form correctly. Babies born with anencephaly cannot survive. Spina bifida is a serious birth defect in which a baby's spine does not develop correctly and can result in severe physical disabilities. The CDC estimates that consuming folic acid can help reduce the number of cases of spina bifida and anencephaly by 50%.
Because of this, the CDC and gynecologists recommend that all women of a childbearing age take a multivitamin with folic acid. Dr. Masterson noted that 0.4 mg is the baseline for how much folic acid you need unless you are at higher risk. If you are at higher risk you will need a higher dosage. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to make sure you are getting the correct amount.
You can get folic acid from food in your diet. However, Dr. Masterson advised that it is better to take folic acid in a vitamin or as a supplement since you can’t guarantee how much you are getting from your food. Plus, just as every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different, there are a variety of ways to get the right amount of folic acid in your diet. If you have bad morning sickness, look for a prenatal vitamin with AM/PM dosing. Or look for a prenatal vitamin that splits up the calcium and iron. There are also vitamin options that can be gluten-free, lactose-free, kosher, and more. It all depends on your lifestyle. Dr. Masterson recommended checking out Mteryti.com for their products and advice on pregnancy and nutrition.
So, along with all the other healthy habits to get into before, during, and after pregnancy, make sure you are getting enough folic acid and make sure you check in with your doctor.
Good luck out there with all your plans for 2017, and good luck prepping for pregnancy!