The Importance of taking Folate while trying to Conceive
Trying to conceive is an exciting time for any couple. However, it is also a critical period when the mother’s health plays a vital role in the healthy development of the fetus. Folate, also known as folic acid, is an essential nutrient that is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of taking folate while trying to conceive.
Folate is a B-vitamin that is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It helps in the formation of red blood cells, the synthesis of DNA and RNA, and the metabolism of amino acids. The recommended daily intake of folate for women of reproductive age is 400 mcg, and during pregnancy, this amount increases to 600 mcg.
Taking folate before and during pregnancy has numerous benefits. The most significant benefit is the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the developing fetus. The neural tube is the structure that forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord. When the neural tube does not close correctly, it results in NTDs such as spina bifida and anencephaly. These birth defects can cause significant disabilities and even be fatal. Studies have shown that taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of NTDs by up to 70%.
Apart from the prevention of NTDs, folate also plays a crucial role in the healthy development of the baby’s organs and tissues. It helps in the formation of the placenta, which supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen. Folate also helps in the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body, including the growing fetus.
Moreover, taking folate supplements can also reduce the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and fetal growth restriction. Studies have shown that mothers who take folate supplements during pregnancy have a lower risk of delivering premature babies, babies with low birth weight, or babies with restricted fetal growth.
It is essential to note that the benefits of folate are not limited to the developing baby. Folate is also essential for the mother’s health during pregnancy. It helps in the formation of new cells and tissues, which is necessary to support the growing fetus. Folate also helps to prevent anemia, which is a common condition in pregnancy.
It is recommended that women start taking folate supplements at least one month before trying to conceive. This is because the neural tube begins to develop within the first 28 days of pregnancy, which is often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant. By taking folate supplements before pregnancy, you ensure that your body has adequate stores of the vitamin to support the developing fetus.
In conclusion, taking folate supplements while trying to conceive is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Folate helps to prevent neural tube defects, supports the healthy development of the baby’s organs and tissues, and reduces the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and fetal growth restriction. It is recommended that women start taking folate supplements at least one month before trying to conceive to ensure that their body has adequate stores of the vitamin. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you. By taking folate supplements, you are taking an essential step towards a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.