Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Op. Dr. Meral Sönmezer gave important information about the subject. There is an increase in energy needs and vitamin-mineral needs in women during pregnancy. Since malnutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiency during pregnancy will adversely affect the health of the baby, it is very important to determine the vitamins and minerals that are missing in the mother's body before pregnancy and replace them, as well as to ensure that the mother has a balanced and healthy diet during pregnancy. Especially in the last trimester, the nutritional status of the mother and the weight gained are closely related to the birth weight of the fetus. Why Is Folic Acid Important During Pregnancy? What Problems Does Folic Acid Deficiency Cause During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the expectant mother needs; Determining important vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, magnesium, calcium and iron and using them as supplements with doctor's control is one of the issues that should be given importance in order to have a healthy pregnancy period and give birth to a healthy baby.
Why Is Folic Acid Important During Pregnancy?
While folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9 in foods, folic acid is a synthetically produced folate derivative and is produced as a medicine. It is known that folic acid supplementation taken before and during pregnancy is protective against many diseases. Therefore, folic acid consumption, which is a very important vitamin for the development of the baby in the mother's womb, should be started 3 months before pregnancy in planned pregnancies. Folic acid, which plays a role in many different functions of the body, especially; It helps the body produce new cells and maintain the cells produced, create DNA and RNA, and form red blood cells. For this reason, the need for this vitamin increases especially during developmental periods such as pregnancy and childhood. While the recommended amount of folic acid to be consumed daily for adults is 400 micrograms, this need can increase up to 800 micrograms per day in women during pregnancy and lactation. Since it becomes more difficult to meet the need for folic acid with food during pregnancy, it is recommended to take folic acid supplements. However, in addition to folic acid supplementation, attention should be paid to the consumption of foods containing folate, the natural form of folic acid. For this, expectant mothers can meet their folate needs by consuming foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, lentils, dry beans, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts.
If we look at the benefits of folic acid during pregnancy;
- It reduces the risk of preterm birth, miscarriage and congenital anomalies.
- It is very important in the cell development and nervous system development of the baby.
- It is protective against birth defects that occur in the development of the spinal cord and brain of babies, known as neural tube defects. In particular, most of the serious problems such as spina bifida, which is one of the most common neural pathway defects and known as open spine, can be prevented by consuming folic acid.
- It helps protect heart health by contributing to lowering the homocysteine level, which is associated with various heart diseases.
Especially in the 3rd and 4th weeks of pregnancy, when the baby's brain and spinal cord development occurs, the need for folic acid increases. Therefore, it would be more advantageous for those who want to become a mother to start folic acid supplementation before getting pregnant and to eliminate folic acid deficiency. Since folic acid is not stored in the body, it should be consumed regularly every day.
What Problems Does Folic Acid Deficiency Cause During Pregnancy?
The state of deficiency of folic acid, which helps to form healthy blood cells that supply oxygen to the body; Folic acid is necessary for people of all ages and is one of the most important vitamins to be taken during pregnancy, as it will cause serious health problems such as growth retardation, deterioration in reproductive health, anemia and heart diseases.
Folic acid deficiency during pregnancy causes the following problems;
- Openness of the spinal cord to the external environment (Spina Bifida)
- miscarriage, premature birth
- newborn infant death
- Separation of the placenta during pregnancy
- megaloblastic anemia
One of the first systems to develop in the baby's body is the nervous system, and folic acid plays an important role in the development of the nervous system. Spina bifida, which is a neural tube defect (neural tube defect) disease, is seen in the babies of pregnant women who are malnourished from folic acid during pregnancy. Therefore, women who plan to become pregnant should have their folic acid levels checked and use folic acid pills under the supervision of a doctor if needed. The amount of folic acid to be used is recommended as 400 mcg per day before pregnancy and in the first trimester, but the amount you need is determined by doctor's control.