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Women who are pregnant need to meet their nutritional needs, one of which is folic acid for pregnant women. Folic acid is very important to take before and during pregnancy because it can help prevent birth defects in the baby's brain and nerves
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate or vitamin B9. The recommended intake of folic acid for pregnant women is about 600 micrograms (mcg) per day. For pregnant women who have given birth to a baby with a neural tube defect, the daily intake of folic acid should be increased to as much as 4,000 mcg.
Folic acid deficiency can be recognized from the appearance of symptoms in the form of body feeling weak, diarrhea, and sore tongue.
The Benefits of Folic Acid for Pregnant Women
For those of you who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, getting enough folic acid intake is very important. This folic acid intake can be obtained from pregnancy supplements and special milk for pregnant women.
The following are some of the benefits of folic acid for pregnant women that you need to know:
1. Prevent neural tube defects
Folic acid plays an important role in helping the baby's neural tube develop properly and preventing the baby from developing neural tube defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
Anencephaly is a condition in which a baby is born without a brain and skull. Babies with anencephaly will generally die after birth.
Meanwhile, spina bifida is a disorder that causes babies to have clefts in the spine and spinal cord. Babies with this condition are at risk for various complications, ranging from difficulty walking, infections of the brain and spinal cord, developmental problems, to permanent disability.
Not only the neural tube, some researchers also suggest that folic acid can prevent cleft lip and congenital heart disease in babies.
2. Prevent miscarriage
Sufficient intake of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy is also believed to be able to prevent miscarriage. Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy or fetal death when the gestational age is still relatively young, which is less than 20 weeks.
In addition to miscarriage, folic acid is also believed to reduce the risk of several other pregnancy disorders, such as premature birth and impaired fetal growth in the womb.
3. Reducing the risk of preeclampsia
Several studies show that pregnant women who get enough folic acid intake since the second trimester of pregnancy have a lower risk of developing preeclampsia. This condition is a complication of pregnancy characterized by increased blood pressure, swelling, and increased levels of protein in the urine.
Suffering from preeclampsia will increase the risk of the mother experiencing eclampsia or dangerous seizures during pregnancy. Preeclampsia can also increase the risk of a baby being born with a low birth weight.
4. Prevent anemia
Anemia or lack of blood is one of the he alth problems that are still experienced by many pregnant women around the world, including in Indonesia. Anemia during pregnancy can cause various pregnancy complications that have the potential to threaten the life of the mother and baby. Therefore, pregnant women need to get adequate intake of folic acid and iron.
Fulfill Folic Acid Intake
To meet the needs of folic acid, you can eat foods that contain folic acid, such as:
- Fruits, such as avocado, papaya, and oranges
- Vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, potatoes, and lettuce
- Beans, including peas and kidney beans
- Beef liver
- Cereals that have been fortified with folic acid
In addition, meeting the daily needs of folic acid can also be done by taking pregnancy supplements. However, you need to first consult with your obstetrician before taking pregnancy supplements. The doctor will determine the type and dosage of supplements that are appropriate and safe to take based on the condition of your pregnancy and your overall he alth.
Pregnant women also need to undergo routine obstetric checkups. In addition to monitoring the development of the fetus, the obstetrical examination also serves to detect he alth problems experienced by pregnant women and their fetuses, so that they can be treated early.