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prettyblkbabyI’m sure many of you have heard medical professionals mention folic acid, or folate, when you went in for your annual check ups, but may not know just how important it is for your body.  So let’s begin by defining folic acid.  Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help make and maintain new red blood cells.  It is essential for the production of red blood cells and your body depends on it greatly.  When your body becomes deficient in folate, you become anemic.  Folic acid is an essential vitamin for preventing a birth defect in babies such as  spinal bifida , which is a malformation of the brain and  spine.  Birth defects of the brain and spine can cause major health problems for your baby, or even worse, death.

Fortunately, the likelihood of experiencing these problems can be greatly reduced by taking a folate supplement or multivitamin that has 100% of your daily value.  Most women only need 400 mcg of folate to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida and  anencephaly.  You can also ensure your body has enough folic acid in store by eating foods high in folate such as fortified breads and cereals, leafy green veggies, peas, beans, and orange juice.

Making sure that you’re taking in an adequate amount of folic acid is a good idea even if you’re not pregnant because almost 1/2 of all pregnancies are mistakes  unintended.  With that being said, your body must be prepared at all times for the sake of you and your unborn child.

Research has shown that folic acid may also reduce your risk of having hypertension or high blood pressure and delay cellular DNA changes that can lead to cancer.

Folic acid supplements and multivitamins containing folic acid are safe, cheap, and easily accessible  at your local retail stores.

For more information, visit http://www.marchofdimes.com

Ladies, always remember to keep a healthy demeanor, both inside and out. 🙂