A healthy New Year’s resolution …
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Here’s an idea for an important — and easy — resolution that’s good for both you and your developing baby: Get enough folic acid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, beginning at least a month before getting pregnant, to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine.
In recognition of Folic Acid Awareness Week, which runs from Jan. 5-11, CuddleBugs at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center would like to share some facts about folic acid and why it’s so important for you and your baby.
Why is folic acid important?
Folic acid is a B vitamin involved in making new cells throughout the body, including the new cells in a developing baby. It’s important for women to have an adequate intake of folic acid before becoming pregnant to help prevent birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine, such as anencephaly and spina bifida, also known as neural tube defects. According to the CDC, folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of these conditions by up to 70 percent.
Supplement for good health
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which occurs naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, liver, and some fruit. Folate is easily destroyed through cooking, and folic acid is more readily utilized by the body than folate. And, although many grain and cereal products are fortified with folic acid, it’s difficult to get enough of the nutrient from diet alone. That’s why it’s so important to take a multivitamin or a supplement every day that contains 400 mcg of folic acid.
Whether you’re currently pregnant or are planning for the near future, put folic acid on your shopping list and begin taking it daily — now that’s a healthful New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep. And, in honor of Folic Acid Awareness Week, spread the word: If you know someone who’s planning to become pregnant, let her know why folic acid is important.
About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center
Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services.
CuddleBugs is a free program designed to provide answers to new and expectant moms from the earliest stages of pregnancy through post-delivery – including guidance for newborn care. For more information about CuddleBugs, visit www.CuddleBugsBaby.com.
Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information and facilitate conversations with your physician that will benefit your health.