Folic acid is important to protect your unborn baby from neural tube defects such as spina bifida .
Folic acid is a B vitamin.It occurs naturally in foods such as beans and pulses(e.g chikpeas,lentils),green vegetables ,and yeast and beef extracts.Some foods are also fortified with folic acid(this means they have folic acid added to them),such as certain breads and breakfast cereals.Products with extra folic acid should display a round symbol with the letter F in the center .
How will folic acid protect my baby ?
when a baby's spine doesn't develop properly in the womb,it's born with what's known as a neural tube defect (NTD). A well-known NTD is a condition is called spina bifida . This can potentially happen during any pregnancy .However,research shows that taking the right amounts of folic acid can significantly reduce the chance of your baby being born with an NTD.
How long do I need extra folic acid for ?
The department of health recommends that you start taking folic acid as soon as you stop using contraception.This is because it can be hard to know exactly when you will conceive, and the baby's spine develops very soon after conception .Folic acid should be taken until your 12th week of pregnancy.
when do I need a bigger dose of folic acid ?
- You have had a baby with spina bifida.
- You have diabetes.
- You are taking drugs for epilepsy.
- You have coeliac disease .
Speak with you GP or midwife about this .