If you are experiencing a hard time remembering to take your prenatal vitamins, then this Q & A may help. January is folic acid awareness & birth defects prevention month. Here are a few interesting facts about folic acid and why all women of child bearing age should be taking folic acid daily.
So check your prenatal vitamin. Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) recommends a minimum intake of 800 mcg. folic acid (not folate) be in your prenatal and sells a quality prenatal in every RMACT office. Here is why:
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is an essential B vitamin. Folic acid is the synthetic form of naturally occurring folate found in foods. This synthetic version is found in multi-vitamins, prenatal vitamins, and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta, and breads. Folic acid is necessary for DNA synthesis of red blood cells, nervous system, and proteins; and cellular growth and reproduction.
Why is folic acid so important for a pregnancy?
Folic acid is a nutrient that is known to have a direct affect on preventing a type of birth defect called a neural tube birth defect. If folic acid/folate intake is deficient, neural tube birth defects are serious and can affect the fetal spine and brain, at the time of conception and within the first 28 days of fetal development during which time the spine is forming. Spina bifida and anencephaly are examples of two more common neural tube defects.
Folic acid is also an important nutrient for healthy sperm. All men who are actively trying to conceive will benefit from a basic mens multi-vitamin containing 100% of the RDA, not a mega dose formula.
Carolyn Gundell, M.S., leads RMACT’s Fertility Nutrition Program, a service available to all patients. Carolyn has a great passion for nutrition and its link to fertility, which she shares with her patients to empower them with food and lifestyle behaviors that optimize their health for conception, successful fertility treatment, and healthy pregnancy.