Are You Taking This Supplement Daily? THIS Is Why Doctors Say You Should 6 years ago

Are You Taking This Supplement Daily? THIS Is Why Doctors Say You Should

There are many food- and drink related rules and recommendations to keep tabs on when it comes to pregnancy.

Expectant mamas are told to up the intake of certain foods (fruit, vegetables, and other really healthy things), and limit (or preferably avoid!) things like sushi, sugar-laden treats and, of course, alcohol.

Many pregnant women are also told to start taking supplements, as to give their bodies much needed extra nourishment and vitamins, and folates (a group of B-vitamins) are often at the forefront when there is any talk about pregnancy nutrition. In fact, 'folic acid' are two words we just automatically associate with pregnancy and mums-to-be, are they not?

I mean, we have all vaguely heard that these pills have something to do with the health of unborn babies, and that we should definitely be popping them when we are – or are planning on getting – pregnant.

Which is all well and good, of course, but did you know you are actually meant to be taking this supplement ALL the time?

Or, at least, if you are sexually active and of an age where it is indeed possible that you could become pregnant (despite not actively planning to). Which basically means that pretty much all women between (at least) the ages of 20 and 45 should be taking this supplement.

Prevents birth defects

The reason for this is because folic acid can only help prevent neural tube defects (which are disorders of the development of the brain and spinal cord) during the first weeks of pregnancy, which is usually before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

And in fact, as we know that a good percentage of all pregnancies happen without them being planned in advance, doctors are recommending all women of child-bearing age take folic acid daily, even between pregnancies.

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This becomes worrying when we know from recent studies that Irish women are getting nowhere near enough folic acid through their diets, and that these severe birth defects are indeed on the rise. In fact, according to a study by the Coombe Women’s Hospital in Dublin, as few as one-quarter of women are taking supplements while pregnant.

According to medical experts, up to 70 percent of neural tube defects (NTDs) can be prevented if all women who can become pregnant consume 0.4 mg/day of folic acid at least a month prior to conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy. (On the flip side, only starting to take your daily recommended dose of folic acid when – or after – you learn that you are indeed pregnant, might then have little, if any, effect in terms of protecting against any neural tube defects.)

Supplements and fortified foods

Like with most vitamins our bodies cannot produce folic acid, and so we need to get this through supplements and/or the food we eat.

Foods rich in folic acid include; cabbage; cauliflower; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; lettuce and spinach. It is also found in green beans; peas; potatoes; bread; bananas; oranges; grapefruit; brown rice; eggs; carrots; nuts and fish. Lentils and garbanzo beans are also good sources.

You can also buy foods that have been fortified with folic acid, which producers often do with certain cereals, bread and even rice or pasta.

Taking a folic acid supplement is, however, the quickest and most effective way of ensuring that you are getting the recommended dose of folic acid every day.

Brought to you by Clonfolic. Folic acid is one of the essential vitamins in pregnancy, its effectiveness is most vital before a woman even knows she is expecting. For more, clonfolic.ie.

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