Folic acid is a synthetic vitamin B9 essential for DNA replication and substrate for various enzymatic reactions involved in the amino acid synthesis and vitamin metabolism. For pregnant women who have given birth to babies with neural tube defects, the daily folic acid intake needs to be increased to as much as 4,000 mcg. Folic acid deficiency can be recognized by the appearance of symptoms in the form of feeling weak, diarrhoea, and a sore tongue.
Reduce The Risk of Miscarriage
Folic acid for pregnant women can prevent the occurrence of barriers. If the level of folic acid in the body of pregnant women is low, it can increase the risk of an abnormal chromosomal arrangement. As a result, the growth of the fetus in the womb can be stunted or impaired. Adequate intake of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy is also believed to be able to prevent miscarriage. Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy or fetal death when the gestational age is still relatively young, which is less than 20 weeks.
Prevention of Neural Tube Defects
Folic acid plays an important role in helping the baby's neural tube develop properly. This will prevent the baby from the risk of neural tube defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. Folic acid consumed early in the formation of the fetus helps prevent spina bifida, a disease that occurs when the spine does not close properly.
This can cause the lining of the brain to come out through the spine. Consumption of folic acid in sufficient doses has been shown to reduce the incidence of spina bifida by up to 70%.
Prevention of Cleft Lips
Lack of folic acid during pregnancy is said to increase the risk of cleft lip. However, there is no definite research that states that low folic acid affects the occurrence of cleft lip.
Reduce The Risk of Preeclampsia
Several studies have found that pregnant women who get enough folic acid intake since the second trimester of pregnancy have a lower risk of developing preeclampsia. This condition is a complication of pregnancy characterized by increased blood pressure, swelling, and increased levels of protein in the urine.
Preeclampsia is one of the complications in pregnancy. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure and leakage of protein in the urine. If left unchecked, it can lead to eclampsia and endanger the life of the mother and fetus.
Prevent Anemia During Pregnancy
Anemia or lack of blood is one of the health problems that are still experienced by many pregnant women throughout the world, including in Indonesia. Anemia during pregnancy can cause various pregnancy complications that have the potential to threaten the life of the mother and baby. Therefore, pregnant women need to get an adequate intake of folic acid and iron.
As a Forming Placenta
Folic acid also plays a role in the formation of the placenta. If pregnant women get adequate amounts of folic acid, the placenta will be well-formed so that the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients from the mother to the fetus will be smooth.
To meet the needs of folic acid, you can eat foods that contain folic acid, such as:
- Vegetables, such as spinach, potatoes, broccoli, and lettuce.
- Legumes, including peas, kidney beans, and green beans.
- Beef liver, eggs, cereal and soy milk fortified with folic acid legumes, including peas, kidney beans, and green beans.
Folic acid supplements are recommended to be taken at least one month before pregnancy and during pregnancy. The recommended dose of folic acid for pregnant women is 400 micrograms (mcg) per day. However, in pregnant women who are obese and carrying twins, the dose of folic acid consumed can be higher.