Many pregnant women ask this question, “What is Folic Acid and is it good for pregnant women?” It’s actually an essential nutrient which many of us take in supplement form to help prevent birth defects. Some of the problems caused by low levels of folic acid in your body include:
* Defective pregnancies – If you are pregnant and your fetus receives inadequate folic acid there are a range of problems it could suffer from including: premature delivery, stillborns and even placenta abruption (when the baby’s placenta actually ripens inside the uterus). * Preterm labor – Lots of women who become pregnant and are on folic acid supplements find that they have a shorter labor. This is because it prevents the contraction of muscles which can often tire of the cervix. * Reduced appetite – Folic acid does seem to give a generally healthy feeling to the body and so many people feel fuller quicker. However, some find they do not feel hungry as often and therefore they eat less.
* Poor development of the brain – It is thought that low levels of folic acid can affect the brain development of babies. This is especially true in very premature babies. This is thought that this may lead to learning disabilities and behavioural difficulties. However, it is also thought that the deficiency could lead to mental decline in grown adults.
* Poor skin – The deficiency of folic acid can also affect the skin of a pregnant woman. Many pregnant women use a moisturizing cream on a daily basis and when they need to get away from the creams they use the moisturizer. But this too can be affected. There is a correlation between the levels of folic acid and dry, scaly or oily skin. This also has a correlation with many other ailments such as arthritis and psoriasis.
* Poor teeth – One of the primary benefits of folic acid is that it helps to prevent tooth decay. This is particularly beneficial in the developing world where many children have suffered from severe tooth decay and malnutrition. This helps to protect their teeth and enamel which in turn strengthens them. However, it is difficult to obtain in the Western world and so many pregnant women in America today suffer from lacking folic acid in their diet.
So, is folic acid in a vitamin? That depends on how you think about it. Some people take it as a supplement, while others think of it purely as a food. If you wish to get the full benefits of it, then make sure that it comes from organic, natural sources. Look for foods such as plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, pineapples, papaya and corn. These are all excellent sources of folic acid.