Healthcare professionals have been advising women of childrearing age to take a multivitamin with folic acid for years. We already know that incorporating folic acid into your diet even if you’re not pregnant helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in babies. Well a new study from England has found another great reason to take folic acid supplements.
Women in the British study were separated into two groups: women who began taking folic acid BEFORE they were pregnant and women who began folic acid supplements once they realized they were pregnant. The results from comparing the two groups of women showed that beginning folic acid before conception reduced the chances of the women giving birth to a baby who is small for their gestational age. Basically, the babies’ weight were on target for what was expected of them at the time they were born.
Based on this study, it would be beneficial for women of childrearing age to take a multivitamin that includes folic acid daily and at least throughout the first trimester of the pregnancy. Even if you’re not planning to get pregnant in the near future, take the folic acid anyway. Remember, nearly half of all pregnancies in this country are unplanned, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When purchasing a multi-vitamin, make sure to read the label. There should be 0.4 mg of folic acid or 400 mcg to increase the likelihood of a healthy weight, spina bifida free baby.
If you aren’t ready for a child yet, please make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss safe and effective methods of contraception to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Remember ladies, keep a healthy demeanor, both inside and out! 🙂