Folic Acid And Pregnancy

Vitamin B9, also called folic acid, is an essential vitamin for the proper functioning of our body throughout our lives. But, it is absolutely necessary for pregnant women as its role is essential for the development of the baby. Studies have even shown that it will increase the chances of getting pregnant.

What is folic acid?

Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin essential for cell multiplication and the production of genetic material (including DNA). 

It participates in the manufacture of red and white blood cells, in the renewal of the skin and the wall of the intestine, as well as in the synthesis of chemical substances which modulate the functioning of the brain. 

At the very beginning of pregnancy, folic acid plays a major role in the formation of the nervous system of the embryo.

Vitamin B9 cannot be synthesized by the human body and must therefore be provided by food. It is also called “folate” – from the Latin folium – recalling that it is very present in leafy green vegetables.

Foods that contain the most:

  • Dark green vegetables: spinach, chard, watercress, butter beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, romaine lettuce, etc.
  • Legumes: lentils (orange, green, black), lentils, dried beans, broad beans, peas (split, chick, whole).
  • Orange-colored fruits: oranges, clementines, tangerines, melon

Recommendation: consume legumes at least every 2-3 days and try to choose the greenest vegetables possible!

The benefits of vitamin B9 on fertility

Folic acid (also called folic acid or folate) is a valuable vitamin for every one of childbearing age. It plays an important role in fertility in both women and men:

  • In the woman

Research conducted at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, has shown that adding micronutrients to the diet, including folic acid, could greatly increase the chances of getting pregnant by helping to keep everyone healthy. menstrual cycles and ovulation. Vitamin B9 could even act as a cure for female infertility.

  • In man

Several recent studies show that folic acid plays a major role in spermatogenesis. It would act on the quality and quantity of sperm. Zinc and vitamin B9 supplements would increase the concentration of sperm likely to fertilize the egg.

Folic acid, essential for the future of baby

During pregnancy, vitamin B9 needs are significantly increased. This vitamin is indeed essential to ensure the development of the neural tube of the fetus which corresponds to the outline of the spinal cord and therefore to the formation of its nervous system.

For pregnant women, making sure to meet their Vitamin B9 needs and those of their future baby means significantly reducing the risk of neural tube closure anomalies and in particular spina bifida, which corresponds to incomplete development of the spine. 

The risks of very serious malformations such as anencephaly (malformations of the brain and skull) are also greatly reduced.

Folic acid also ensures good growth of the fetus throughout the first trimester

Folic acid supplements

With the neural tube closing between the third and fourth week of fetal life, all women should be prescribed vitamin B9 supplementation as soon as they wish to become pregnant to avoid any deficiency with serious consequences for newborns.

Folic acid supplementation should continue for the first three months of pregnancy to ensure optimal fetal growth.

Moreover, the HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé) recommends the systematic prescription of vitamin B9 supplementation at the rate of 400 µg (0.4 mg) per day as soon as pregnancy is desired and at least 4 weeks before conception and up to the 10th week of pregnancy (12 weeks).

Image Credit: Photo by Jill Wellington from pexels.com

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