My gynae advised me to take folic acid during my third trimester.I did not understand Why?Plz help

Ruma - posted on 05/11/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )




i am 33 weeks pregnant.In my lst visit to gynae,she asked me to start taking folic acid.What could be the reason?

My baby's head position is down.I feel lot abdominal pressure these days.Though cervix is still closed.I am already taking my calcium and iron supplements.


Nora - posted on 05/13/2010




Folic acid is an important nutrient for women who may become pregnant, because a woman's blood levels of folate fall during pregnancy due to an increased maternal RBC synthesis in the first half of the pregnancy and fetal demands in the second half.[7] The first four weeks of pregnancy (when most women do not even realize they are pregnant) require folic acid for proper development of the brain, skull, and spinal cord.[9] Serious birth defects like neural tube defects are less likely to occur when women take 0.4 mg of folic acid daily.[9] Adequate folate intake during the periconceptional period, the time right before and just after a woman becomes pregnant, helps protect against a number of congenital malformations including neural tube defects (which are the most notable birth defects that occur from folate deficiency).[29] Neural tube defects (NTDs) result in malformations of the spine (spina bifida), skull, and brain (anencephaly). The risk of neural tube defects is significantly reduced when supplemental folic acid is consumed in addition to a healthy diet prior to and during the first month following conception.[30][31] The protective effect of folate during pregnancy goes beyond NTDs. Supplementation with folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of congenital heart defects, cleft lip[32], limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies.[33] Women who could become pregnant are advised to eat foods fortified with folic acid or take supplements in addition to eating folate-rich foods to reduce the risk of some serious birth defects. Having enough folic acid supplements in the months before pregnancy is very important to prevent neural tube defects.[34] Taking 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily from fortified foods and/or supplements has been suggested. The RDA for folate equivalents for pregnant women is 600-800 micrograms, twice the normal RDA of 400 micrograms for women who are not pregnant.[35]

A study published by Milunski et al. has indicated that women who took folic acid supplements during the course of pregnancy can dramatically reduce the prevalence of infant neural tube defects by 3.9 times. The prevalence had dropped from 3.5 to 0.9 defects per 1000 births.[36]

Although the recommended folic acid intake for women planning for pregnancy is 400 micrograms per day, the mechanisms and reasons why folic acid prevents birth defects is unknown.[37] It is hypothesized that the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene is differentially methylated and these changes in IGF2 result in improved intrauterine growth and development.[37]

Folate deficiency during pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm delivery, infant low birth weight, and fetal growth retardation.[38] Folate deficiency in the mother increases homocysteine level in the blood which may lead to spontaneous abortion and pregnancy complications such as placental abruption and preeclampsia.[38]

Recently studies have been conducted to test the hypothesis that folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but evidence so far has been weak.[39]

Folic acid may also reduce chromosomal defects in sperm to some extent, which may be relevant for men considering to father a child.[40] A benefit is indicated even for more than 700 mcg folate per day,[40] which though below the tolerable upper intake levels of 1,000 µg/day was 1.8 times the recommended dietary allowance.

It is estimated that approximately 85% of women use folic acid supplements before they become pregnant but only 18% use enough folic acid supplements to meet the current folic acid requirements due to socio-economic challenges facing some women.[41]

Folic acid supplements may even protect the fetus against disease when the mother is battling a disease or taking medications or smoking during pregnancy.[42]

[Folate in foods and other sources
Leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, romaine lettuces, dried or fresh beans and peas, beer,[8] fortified grain products (pasta, cereal, bread), sunflower seeds and certain other fruits (orange juice, canned pineapple juice, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, grapefruit juice, banana, raspberry, grapefruit, strawberry) and vegetables (beets, broccoli, corn, tomato juice, vegetable juice, brussels sprouts, bok choy) are rich sources of folate.[9] Liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate, as does baker's yeast. Some breakfast cereals (ready-to-eat and others) are fortified with 25% to 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for folic acid. A table of selected food sources of folate and folic acid can be found at the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.[10] Folic acid is added to grain products in many countries, and in these countries fortified products make up a significant source of the population's folic acid intake[11]. Because of the difference in bioavailability between supplemented folic acid and the different forms of folate found in food, the dietary folate equivalent (DFE) system was established. 1 DFE is defined as 1 μg of dietary folate, or 0.6 μg of folic acid supplement. This is reduced to 0.5 μg of folic acid if the supplement is taken on an empty stomach.[12]

Folic acid naturally found in food is susceptible to high heat, UV, and is soluble in water.[13] It is heat labile in acidic environments and may also be subject to oxidation.[13]

Some meal replacement products do not meet the folate requirements as specified by the RDAs.[14]

[deleted account]

Folic acid is only needed for 14 weeks before conception and 12weeks after conceiving.I am not sure why you need to take it at 33weeks,as your baby's spine is fully developed now.Its used to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida.My doctor told me and the folic acid box state its only recommend for this time frame.Its not going to do any harm at 33weeks pregnant though,wont hurt to take it.Although you baby is fully developed as in the spine etc and what folic acid was there for in the start to prevent any defects as the spine etc was growing.

I would ask why you are taking them,i think it's important to have a full understanding of everything you are told to take and whats being said during your pregnancy,we as moms should never be left wondering about what was said and what we have to take.Its our right to know everything during our pregnancy.

Folic acid wont hurt you to take it and have a build up of it as it has other benefits to you and baby other than the prevention of defects,so dont worry and i am sure you have been told baby is very healthy.So relax and enjoy the last few weeks.:-)

Amanda - posted on 05/13/2010




Everyone should take folic acid pregnant or not, it helps with birth defects, heart disease, strokes, cancer, obesity, depression, memory, schizophrenia, allergies, arthritis, renal disease, type 1 diabetes, bone health, anemia, and the list goes on.

Dina - posted on 05/14/2010




Most prenatal vitamins contain more folic acid, calcium and iron than do standard adult multivitamins. It helps reduce the risk of preterm labor and low birth weight - It basically give the baby the last boost before coming into the world.

Z - posted on 05/12/2010




I thought folic acid should be taken 3 months before we started planning to get pregnant. As we all know lacked of folic acid is not good to the baby. Folic acid should be taken until we gave birth and during we breastfeed to the baby. So, u should take ur folic acid now, if u haven't take it during ur early months of pregnancy. Nothing to worry I guess if ur gynae had assured that ur baby is healthy.


View replies by

Ruma - posted on 05/13/2010




thanx Sisters.U all have been a big help me to understand Y I should take folic acid.I guess the main reason my gynae advised to take folic acid for preterm delivery because I am feeling lot of abdominal pressure,the gynae said the head has come everything is fine My baby is healthy.

Danielle - posted on 05/13/2010




My doc likes me to take a pre-natal vitamin with folic acid and then extra folic acid as well, throughout my entire pregnancy. I've always done as he's instructed me and I have a healthy 12 month old to thank for it. I'm also pregnant with # 2 and doing the same thing this pregnancy.

Anne-Marie - posted on 05/13/2010




folic acid help with the spine, takin it will decrease the chances of your baby having spinabifida wich is a problem with the spine where it wont be straight

Abbie - posted on 05/12/2010




The reason for folic acid and why it should be taken the whole pregnancy is to prevent birth defect, which is commonly spina bifida. Its where the tail bone doesn't close and the spine is exposed. It has nothing to do with position or your cervix

Ruma - posted on 05/12/2010




Allhumdullilah everything going smooth.And I did take folic acid during my first three months.But yeah I have started taking them again.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms