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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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Why every African woman 18+ should take folic acid daily

By Lydia Okolie

If you’re capable of reproducing, I am talking to you—even if you’re not planning to get pregnant. If you ever wish to be a mother, healthy Lifestyle should be very important to you.

Most African women do not bother about having a daily balanced diet.

Most of us consume more of Carbohydrate rich foods everyday without even watching our weight.

We also forget to fast sometimes to enable complete metabolism in our system except you have a management health that requires daily intake of drugs.

Most women don’t think about the nutrients that are most important during pregnancy until getting pregnant is on their radar.

All women who are even capable of getting pregnant should be taking one thing: folic acid.

Folate, aka folic acid, is a Vitamin B that is essential for normal growth of the brain and spine in a developing fetus. But what’s the point in taking it if you’re not even thinking about having a baby?

The answer is simple: because 27 percent of all pregnancies in most African homes are unplanned. Birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the very early stages of pregnancy (the first few weeks), often before a woman knows she’s pregnant.

All women who can get pregnant should be taking folic acid, not just if you’re thinking about it. If you’re already supplementing, you’ll have one less thing to worry about if you’re surprised with a positive pregnancy test.

Folate can be found in many fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens), as well as beans, nuts and enriched grain products. It’s called “folic acid” in its synthetic form in vitamins and supplements.

Chances are you’re not getting enough from the foods you eat, even if they’re fortified, because our bodies can use folic acid more efficiently than folate.

If you’re not too keen on popping a multivitamin every day, you can just take singular folic acid supplements. There are also chewable and liquid options on the market.

If a woman takes folic acid every day before and during pregnancy, it reduces the risk for neural tube defects, a birth defect of the brain or spine. Approximately 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies is affected by one.

Taking 0.4 milligrams per day of folic acid can help prevent up to 70 percent of these birth defects. (Depending on your health and family history, especially if there’s spina bifida in the family, your doctor may recommend supplementing with a higher amount, so make sure to clue him or her in before adding a new pill to your daily routine.)

Though this is the most pressing reason, other studies have shown that folate may have other benefits when taken during pregnancy—a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that it may help reduce a child’s future obesity risk.

All told, those are pretty good reasons to take folic acid if getting pregnant is even a remote possibility. Plus, your body needs it anyway, to make new cells. So, win-win.
If you’re already pregnant or trying but aren’t taking folate: Better late than never. The vitamin is still going to aid in your baby’s development if you take it through the first two or three months.

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