If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should be incorporating folic acid into your vitamin habits
We all know that taking a multi-vitamin when you are trying to get pregnant is a must. But what a lot of women don’t realize is that all women of childbearing age should be taking a multi-vitamin containing folic acid every day.
Think of it this way: fifty percent of pregnancies are unplanned. That alone is a pretty terrifying thought, but it is a fact. Basically, what the stats are telling us is even if you aren’t actively trying to get pregnant, there is still a possibility of it happening!
Early pregnancy (the first few weeks) are vital for fetal development. Most women who accidently become pregnant don’t even know they are expecting until after they miss a period, which usually takes about four weeks. This means that, by the time you clue in to the fact that you are pregnant, a lot of growth and development has already occurred with baby-to-be.
Between the third and fourth week of pregnancy, Spina bifida and other birth defects that affect the brain or spinal cord (neural tube defects) begin to occur. In other words, before you even realize you are pregnant, the baby is at risk of developing some pretty serious birth abnormalities if you aren’t getting enough folic acid. Thankfully, the addition of folic acid to your system before you get pregnant can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by more than seventy percent.
Folate (the naturally occurring form of folic acid) can be found in some foods, such as kidney beans, corn and leafy greens. But it takes a lot of these foods to get the recommended daily intake. So even though you love a good spinach salad in the summer time, it would take eight cups of spinach each day to get the daily requirements of folate.
Health Canada suggests “all women who could become pregnant and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should take a multivitamin containing folic acid everyday”.
The great part about taking a daily multivitamin is that folic acid is only one of the many beneficial vitamin. A prenatal multivitamin, such as the #1 doctor recommended prenatal multivitamin Nestlé Materna, contains 13 essential vitamins and 10 essential minerals to keep women healthy.
If you choose to add a daily multivitamin to your diet, speak to your doctor beforehand to ensure that it is right for you.
For more information on daily prenatal multivitamins and how they can help you, visit www.materna.ca.
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