Folic acid is a human-made form of vitamin B9. It is an essential vitamin that the body cannot produce. We have to take it from the diet or as supplementation.
Why is it important?
It is an important cofactor for DNA, RNA synthesis, and cell division, helps in the production of blood cells especially red blood cells, balances homocysteine levels in the blood, and keeps the healthy function of the brain and nervous system.
Much more important in pregnancy:
There is increased production of RBC in pregnant women to meet the requirements of both the mother and the baby, folic acid helps in the development and closure of the neural tube in the baby which forms the brain and spinal cord.
Deficiency leads to:
Anaemia, neural tube defects, intrauterine growth retardation, premature separation of placenta from uterus, premature delivery of baby.
How much is recommended:
High doses (4mg/day) recommended in conditions like;
Family history of neural tube defects, delivery of neural tube defect baby in previous pregnancy, if the mother is diabetic and if the mother is on anti-epileptic medication.
When to start?
Maximum neural tube development occurs in 1st 3 to 4 weeks of intrauterine life. By the time you know that you are pregnant, the damage might already occur. So, you need to start it when you are planning for pregnancy and continue till delivery. There is no harm if you start even before.
The right supplementation at the right time gives a better outcome.
Dr Venkata Siva Kumari - MBBS, MS (Obstetrics & Gynaecology)
Specialist Obstetrics & Gynaecologist
Jabal Sina Medical Centre L.L.C
Delivering Healthcare That Works for You
Jabal Sina Medical Centre L.L.C is a flagship medical centre in Ajman from the founders of Ibinsina Medical Centre, an institution that has provided ambulatory healthcare for over 20 years. Having started in 1998, our founders brought substantial investment to create the first custom-built private hospital in the area and we pride ourselves on maintaining a philosophy of shared management with patients throughout the process. Operating mainly in primary care, this approach places the patient at the centre of the care cycle, with doctors, nurses and specialists working together to provide a service that addresses each patient's core individual needs. Our fully qualified team of professionals are committed to supporting you in your journey from sickness to health in a compassionate, caring and confident manner, taking care of all of your concerns and providing necessary referrals.