Folic acid in pregnancy: why mom needs it?
In pregnancy, the health of the pregnant woman and her unborn child are priorities, which is why it is important to diet properly 1 , undergo regular medical checkups and also prenatal screening tests such as fetal DNA testing. Taking folic acid during pregnancy is essential. With folates, it makes up vitamins B9 or B group 1 . These participate in the synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins 2 . L’folic acid, from the Latin folium (leaf), was so named by Mitchell to indicate substances in spinach that are useful in counteracting iron deficiencies 2 .
Folic acid supplementation is necessary in pregnancy, starting even before conception. An’insufficiency of folic acid can cause, in the unborn child, spina bifida 1 , neural tube damage, birth defects, limb deformities, and deformed lips and palate 2 .
The Italian Folic Acid Promotion Network recommends a dose of 0.4mg of folic acid per day for pregnant women, and 0.5 for pregnant women with risk factors.
Folate is photosensitive, so intake of raw or undercooked fruits and vegetables is recommended.
Where folic acid is found in nature’folic acid?
It is in green leafy vegetables, strawberries, artichokes, turnips, legumes, brewer's yeast 1 .
Mother's and baby's health conditions depend on a healthy and proper diet 3 . A woman in sweet
expectant has a higher caloric requirement: about 200-300 calories and 9 grams more protein per
day, as well as increased intake of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.
According to EUROCAT (European surveillance of congenital anomalies “European surveillance system for
genetic abnormalities"), 20 are the types of malformations that develop every 1.000 births. The’incidence
Can decrease by including lots of fruits and vegetables in the diet. However, diet is not enough,
therefore, it is necessary to resort to folic acid supplements 2 .
Taking folic acid in the form of dietary supplements during pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the baby by 70% 2 , and during breastfeeding compensates for losses caused by breast milk production 4 .
Women planning to become pregnant are advised to take folic acid starting one month before conception, and to continue for at least the next trimester 5 .
1 – Mother and child: from conception to’adolescence – Fondazione Umberto Veronesi
4 – ISTISAN Report n.13/28 – Primary prevention of congenital malformations: activities of the Italian Folic Acid Promotion Network