If you are thinking of getting pregnant then it is of prime importance to have a healthy and balanced diet that includes the right nutrients. Diet is a key deciding factor in the success of your pregnancy and in getting a healthy baby. Most physicians emphasize on leading a healthy life, making slight lifestyle modifications, and having a healthy diet each time and on time for ensuring a healthy hassle-free pregnancy.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid plays a pivotal role in ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy for the mom and a healthy baby. You must start consuming folic acid even before conceiving. Folate or folic acid is regarded as the real ‘pregnancy superhero’. Folic acid is actually a manmade formulation of a Vitamin B known as folate. Folate is great for producing red blood cells. It plays a pivotal role in the development of the neural tube of your baby into his spinal cord and brain. Some of the food sources rich in folic acid are dark green vegetables, fortified cereals, and citrus fruits.
Effective Prenatal Diagnosis of Anomalies
The Polymerase Chain Reaction has been presented in prenatal diagnosis for effective detection of some fetal aneuploidies. This effective diagnostic method known as the Quantitative Fluorescent Polymerase Chain Reaction is often used in prenatal diagnosis for bypassing the need to actually culture the fetal cells. This would be allowing speedy and precise diagnosis of all the selected chromosomal anomalies. PCR is certainly, more reasonably-priced and fully-automated so that even more pregnant women would be getting the advantage of invasive prenatal diagnosis but without any drastic increase in medical expenses. All pregnant women must get all the diagnostic examinations done on time and rule out all anomalies well in advance.
Benefits of Folic Acid
Boosts the Generation of Red Blood Cells
Folate helps in enhancing the generation of red blood cells, so this is really vital during pregnancy when you naturally tend to be anemic. Folic acid consumption would keep your RBC count normal and you could have some other effective supplements for fulfilling your iron deficiency during pregnancy. This further ensures a healthy fetal growth and development.
Good for Fetal Development
Folic acid is great for ensuring the normal neural development of a baby. In this context, you must know that the neural tube of the fetus eventually grows into the spinal cord and brain of the baby and is protected effectively by folic acid. This ensures no prenatal defects in the initial stages of development of the baby’s central nervous system.
The Right Time to Start Taking Folic Acid
Doctors suggest that you start taking up to 400mcg folic acid when you start planning. Most birth defects are likely to occur around the first trimester, which is why it makes a lot of sense to consume folate in the early stages. Speak to your trusted doctor to understand what sort of dose is right for you, all things considered.
Why Is Folic Acid Best for Your Baby?
Folate would be safeguarding your baby from fatal diseases like spina bifida where the spinal cord development is incomplete, cleft palate, and cleft lip that could be prevented by the mother consuming the right dose of folate during the pregnancy. Folic acid would be eliminating the risks of premature birth, miscarriage, poor infant weight etc. As per the latest research and studies, there could be a connection between neural tube defects and the Down syndrome. It is believed that folic acid supplements could effectively prevent both of these diseases.
Natural source of folic acid
Dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and dried legumes like chickpeas, beans, lentils are the good natural source of folate. Check the table below that showing the foods are the great source of folate: (Source: dietitians.ca)
|Food||Serving size||Folate (mcg)|
|Vegetables and Fruit|
|Edamame/baby soybeans cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||106-255|
|Okra, frozen, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||97|
|Spinach, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||121-139|
|Artichoke, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||79-106|
|Turnip greens, collards, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||68-93|
|Broccoli, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||89|
|Asparagus, cooked||4 spears||128-141|
|Brussels sprouts, frozen, cooked||6 sprouts||83|
|Lettuce, (Romaine, mesclun)||250 mL (1 cup)||65-80|
|Escarole or endive, raw||250 mL (1 cup)||75|
|Beets, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||72|
|Potato, with skin, cooked||1 medium||48-66|
|Spinach, raw||250 mL (1 cup)||61|
|Orange juice||125 mL (½ cup)||25-39|
|Pasta, egg noodles, enriched, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||138|
|Pasta, white, enriched, cooked||125 mL (½ cup)||88-113|
|Bagel, plain||½ bagel (45 g)||86|
|Bread, white||1 slice (35 g)||64|
|Bread, whole wheat||1 slice (35 g)||11|
|Milk and Alternatives||This food group contains very little of this nutrient|
|Meat and Alternatives|
|Beans, cranberry/roman, cooked||175 mL (¾ cup)||271|
|Lentils, cooked||175 mL (¾ cup)||265|
|Peas (chickpeas, black-eyed,, pigeon)|
|175 mL (¾ cup)||138-263|
|Beans (mung, adzuki), cooked||175 mL (¾ cup)||234-238|
|Beans (pink, pinto, navy, black, white, kidney, great northern), cooked||175 mL (¾ cup)||157-218|
|Sunflower seeds, without shell||60 mL (¼ cup)||77-81|
|Meatless (fish sticks, meatball, chicken), cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||59-77|
|Soy burger/vegetarian meatloaf or patty, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||59|
|Soy nuts||60 mL (¼ cup)||59|
|Liver (turkey, chicken), cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||420-518|
|Liver (lamb, veal), cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||262-300|
|Liver (beef, pork), cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||122-195|
|Yeast extract spread (vegemite or marmite)||30 ml (2 Tbsp)||360|
You must consult your nutritionist who would help you in effectively chalking out the best diet plan for enriching your body with the ever-useful folic acid. Folate would be signifying development and fertility. You must include folic acid in your pregnancy priority list before conceiving, for health and happiness of you and your baby.
Daniel Mattei is a Professional writer. He has written many articles on Health. In this article he has mentioned about the Polymerase Chain Reaction has been presented in prenatal diagnosis.