Folic Acid is one of the B vitamins. It is found in a variety of foods such as some breads and breakfast cereals, oranges, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and yeast.
Why is folic acid so important?
Research has shown that women should take folic acid once they plan to become pregnant, and continue to take it throughout pregnancy, this will help reduce the risk of the baby having neural tube defect. This is an abnormality caused by failure of the brain and spinal cord to develop properly. One of these defects is called Spina Bifida. Because babies spines form in the earliest stages of pregnancy, women need to take extra folic acid as soon as they plan to become pregnant or if there is any chance they may become pregnant.
Does folic acid have other benefits?
Like all vitamins, folic acid is essential for the body to work properly. New research has shown that folic acid may help to prevent other malformations in babies as well as reducing the risk of heart diseases in babies and mothers
Can folic acid be harmful?
At the recommended doses folic acid is not harmful to you or your baby.
Where can you get folic acid supplements?
You can easily buy folic acid in pharmacies and health food shops. Your doctor can also prescribe folic acid for you.
How do you get enough folic acid?
It is very difficult to get enough folic acid from your diet alone. You should choose foods that contain folic acid by eating those mentioned above. You can learn more about the folic acid contents of your selections by reading the nutrition labels on package foods.If you are planning to become pregnant, or if there is a possibility you could be pregnant, you should take a supplement of folic acid every day. This supplement should contain 400 micrograms of folic acid.
Have you had a previous pregnancy affected by spina bifida? Is there a history of it in your family?
If so, it is recommended that you increase your intake of folic acid to 4000 micrograms daily, beginning at least one month before conception and continuing for the first 3 months of our pregnancy.
There are many checks in place to keep you safe and prevent errors while you receive health care. You and your family can also help.
Be a Part of Your Care
- Be a part of all decisions. Make sure that you understand and agree with your care.
- Ask questions and voice concerns.
- Write down questions to ask when your doctor visits.
- Expect clear, simple information that you can understand.If you do not understand or you have trouble reading, ask the staff to tell you again. Be sure you understand any medical terms or abbreviations.
Tell Us About Your Needs
- Tell the staff about your needs. Many people may be helping with your care, and you may need to tell people more than once.
- Ask for an interpreter. This is a free service to you
- Tell the staff about special beliefs or customs for your care.
- Tell the staff about foods you should not eat.
Expect Good Care
- Check with your nurse about how active you should be.
- Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion
- Expect the staff will respond quickly to alarms
- Ask a family member or friend to be with you. This person can help learn the information, ask questions, speak up for you, and help you get good care..
Learn About Your Treatment
- Learn more about your condition and treatment choices
- Get the results or any test or procedure. Find out what the results mean for your care
- Before a test, procedure or surgery, make sure you understand:
- What is to be done
- What you need to do before and after
- Help to mark the place on your body where you are to have surgery
Discuss Your Medicines
- Always carry a list of the medicines that you take. Be sure to include any over the counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, teas, and home remedies you use
- Learn what your medicines are for
- Let your doctors and nurses know of any allergies you have to medicines or foods, including over the counter products. Let them know the type of reaction or side effects you have.
- Make sure your nurse checks your identification (ID) band or wristband before you take any medicine
- If you are not sure what medicines you are being given, ask what they are and what they are for.The medicines you take in the hospital may be different or look different from what you take at home.
- If you notice any new side effects after starting a medicine, tell your nurse, doctor or pharmacist
- Hand washing or the use of alcohol hand sanitizer is the best way to limit the spread of infection.
- Expect the staff will wash their hands before providing care. If you do not see the staff washing their hands, ask them.
- Ask visitors to wash their hands and not to visit if they have a cold or feel ill.
Be Aware of Identification
- Wear your ID band at all times. Make sure your name and your medical record number are correct
- Expect that the staff will check your ID band before giving any medicine or treatment
Talk to the staff if you have any questions or concerns.
Get good medical cares beginning early in your pregnancy. There are things you can do to take care of yourself and your baby.
Food and Drinks
- Eat balanced meals that include grain breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat and milk. Avoid fried and high sugar foods.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day.
- Try eating smaller meals more often.
- Avoid or limit food and drinks with caffeine to 1 to 2 cups each day. Caffeine is in chocolate, colas, teas, and coffee.
- Limit your intake of artificial sweeteners, including diet sodas, to 2-3 servings each day. Nutrasweet and Equal (aspartame) and Splenda (sucralose) in small amounts are okay but do not use any saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)
Total weight gain depends on your pre-pregnant weight, eating habits, exercise and your metabolism. The average weight gain during pregnancy for a normal weight female is 11-16 Kg. You should gain 1-2 kg. in the first 3 months and about ¾ to .750kg per week after that. If you were under or over weight before pregnancy, ask your doctor or dietician about how much weight you should gain.
If you are gaining weight too fast:
- Limit sweets and high fat foods. Choose low fat items, fruit or a small serving of frozen yogurt, sherbert, pudding or jell-o.
- Use very little butter, margarine, sour cream, mayonnaise or salad dressing. Try reduced calorie varieties.
- Avoid fried foods.Choose baked, broiled, grilled chicken, fish or turkey.
- Take you prenatal vitamins each day.
- Check with your doctor or clinic before taking any medicines such as prescriptions, over the counter medicines or herbals.
- Take only medicines prescribed by your doctor.
Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs
- Do not smoke and avoid being in the same room with people who are smoking.
- Do not drink alcohol or take drugs during your pregnancy.
Activity and Sleep
- Get plenty of rest. Try to get 8 hours of sleep.
- Rest throughout the day. It is best to lie on your left side.
- Exercise by walking, swimming or biking for 15-30 minutes each day.
- Learn and practice the exercise from your childbirth class.
- Avoid having x-ray while you are pregnant
- Avoid paints, pesticides, sprays, and other strong chemicals.
- Wash hands well after touching raw meat. Cook meat well.
- Wear seats belts low over your hips.
- Buy well fitting support bras.