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Folic acid and healthy pregnancy

January 16, 2015

Here’s a great idea…
According to, Dr. Bradley Schaefer, Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at University of Arkansas Medical School, “If a mother takes folic acid several months before pregnancy and throughout pregnancy, the vast majority of these birth defects can be prevented.”

In other words…
Folic Acid reduces the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly if taken well before becoming pregnant. Folate or vitamin B9 is used by the body to build new cells. When a woman is pregnant, extra folate is needed to prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects, heart defects and cleft lip and/or palate.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Eat those foods that are great sources of folate. These sources include grains, green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli), fruits (bananas), meats (liver) and beans and peas. However, it can be hard to get the full daily amount of folic acid (400 mcg) needed in pregnancy from food. It would take 8 glasses of orange juice, 10 servings of broccoli or spinach and 3 bananas.

To be certain that one gets enough folic acid daily, the Arkansas Folic Acid Coalition recommends that women of child-bearing age (from 10 years to 50 years) take a vitamin supplement containing 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily.

Adolescence is an important age to start healthy habits for your child’s future and the future generations.

To find out more…
Talk to your doctor and your child’s doctor about the importance of folic acid for your health now and in the future.  Then make a special time to sit down and talk with your children about this important vitamin.

Visit  http://vitaminforlife.org/ for more information and resources about folic acid. For more information on healthy eating visit: http://www.uaex.edu/health-living/food-nutrition/default.aspx.

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