Folic acid is essential for those planning to have children. Research shows that women who have a supplementation regimen to include folic acid are much more likely to have to children with a normal birth weight. Many studies in the medical community recommend increasing folic acid intake for women planning to have children.
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Benefits of folic acid
Folic acid is an important nutrient that helps protect the cells in the body. The nutrient, often referred to as B9, is found in limited supply in common foods. Before having children, women are encouraged to take folic acid to stimulate cellular growth and division at a healthier rate. This process essentially prepares the womb for the healthy production of placenta as the body produces and circulates more blood to accommodate the growing fetus. It is essential in for having a healthy pregnancy experience.
Nepalese Study on Women, Folic Acid and Birth Weight
In a study conducted by CHN researchers, Nepalese women were prescribed a supplementation regimen. The study followed 4,926 pregnant women. Women were given variations of folic acid or a micronutrient regimen consisting of folic acid, zinc, micronutrients and iron. The research shows that supplementation with folic acid iron reduced the rate of low birth weight. Folic-acid iron was found to reduce the rate of low birth weight by 16 percent and 14 percent among women taking micronutrients and folic acid.
Folic acid and SGA (Small Gestational Age)
In a study involving 39,416 women, the potential of folic acid in reducing the incidence of low birth weight. According to research, 16 percent of newborns fall within the lowest 10 percent in weight among women not taking folic acid. Another 9 percent were born within 5 percent. Among women taking folic acid during pregnancy, only 13 percent of babies were born in the lowest 10 percent of a healthy birth weight. Only 7 percent of babies were born in the low 5 percent of the desirable weight range. Findings suggest that people who take folic acid prior to getting pregnant can reduce risks of low birth weight.
There are approximately 250 million children born with low birth weights every year. Approximately 90 percent of infants born in undeveloped countries were less likely to have children with a low birth weight due to deficiencies in micronutrients. Extensive research is still necessary to determine the effect of folic acid and supplementation on birth weight. Additional research must also be conducted to determine the connection be timing of beginning a supplementation regimen containing folic acid.