Friday, 11 January 2019

Importance of Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy to Prevent Cleft

Importance of Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy to Prevent Cleft

Folic Acid supplements are the synthesized form of naturally occurring Vitamin in the B-Complex group. Folic Acid supplements are believed to reduce the chance of cleft occurrence in babies. It is suggested that women take folic acid supplements at a pre-conception stage – while they are planning for pregnancy, and during the pregnancy stage (in limited quantity, according to their doctor’s prescription) to prevent multiple birth defects in babies.
What are the sources of Folate/Folic Acid?
Folate, the naturally occurring folic acid, can be found in foods like leafy greens, spinach, cereals, citrus fruits, broccoli, lettuce, mushrooms, beans, etc.
Folic Acid is also available in synthesized form as supplements (pills) or in multi-vitamin tablets.
Is it required to take Folic Acid supplements separately?
Not always. Only if tests show a deficiency in folate or during conditions like pregnancy where the intake of more folate has been shown to be beneficial in reducing birth defects in babies, folic acid supplements may be prescribed by your doctor.
What are the benefits of consuming Folic Acid supplements?
For pregnant women, and for women of child-bearing age planning to get pregnant, it is beneficial to consume folic acid via supplements as it can prevent birth defects in babies like neural tube defects, aid in proper spine/brain development, reduce the chances of cleft lip/cleft palate occurrence, etc. More information on this topic is available on this page.
Folic acid is also useful in the betterment of other medical conditions like kidney diseases, high-levels of homo-cysteine in blood, stroke, vision/hearing loss, etc.
Folic acid supplements can sometimes be prescribed to reduce the side effects of other medicines/drugs like methotrexate.
How can Folic Acid supplements be consumed?
Folic Acid is available as pills and can be directly consumed via mouth. This is the most common way of taking folic acid supplements. Folic acid supplements can sometimes be applied directly to the skin to treat gum problems, or they can be given via a needle (injection) for treating certain medical conditions.
How much of Folic Acid supplements can one consume?
Folic Acid supplements and their quantity is generally recommended by a Physician/Doctor and patients are advised to stick to the levels suggested by their medical practitioners.
Generally, 200 to 500 mcg of Folic Acid is suggested per day for pregnant women and women in pre-conception stage who are planning pregnancy shortly. Over consumption of folic acid may lead to side effects.
Is it important to take Folic Acid before pregnancy?
Since most birth defects happen within the first 30-40 days of child growth in the womb, it is better to start taking folic acid supplements at the pre-conception stage itself. If you are planning to get pregnant, it is a good idea to start taking folic acid supplements after consulting with a doctor.
Folic acid not only reduces the chances of occurrence of cleft lip/palate, but it also reduces the chances of occurrence of more serious birth defects in brain/spinal cord like neural tube defects. Some believe that folic acid can even reduce the chances for miscarriages and pre-mature child births.
Whom do I consult for Folic Acid supplement prescription?
You can consult your doctor and he/she might refer you to the appropriate specialists. Or you can also consult the experts of Anamaya Indo Pacific who are running a multi-centre cleft prevention program in India – especially in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. Anamaya is an NGO led by Dr. Shreekala, a dentist by profession, who collaborate with a team of medical professionals committed to the cause of prevention of birth defects in India.
You can visit Anamaya Indo Pacific website and Anamaya Indo Pacific Facebook page to get more information about cleft prevention/cure. You can also contact them using the address/phone no. information available in their contact us page.

Aishwarya Web Developer

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