Folic Acid, Iron and Calcium in pregnancy

Posted by Pharmics on 27th Apr 2020

Are You Pregnant? We Have What You Need

Trying to get Pregnant, Pregnant or Nursing? Prenatal vitamins are recommended for all women of childbearing age. So whether you are planning to get pregnant, or if you are pregnant or nursing, or a woman of child bearing age it is recommended that you should be taking a prenatal vitamin each day.

Nutrition is the building blocks for a healthy mom and baby. Since the growing baby’s exclusive nutrient source is mom, it is important that mom is well nourished. Prenatal vitamins are designed to provide the extra nutrients that may be hard to get from a typical diet, such as Folic Acid, Iron and Calcium.

Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube birth defects (spina bifida). Folic Acid works to prevent birth defects if taken before conception and during early pregnancy. Studies show that if all women consumed the recommended amount of folic acid before and during early pregnancy, up to 70 percent of all neural tube defects could be prevented (1, 2). Folic acid also may help prevent other birth defects, including cleft lip and palate and some heart defects (1, 3). The March of Dimes states that a recent study suggests that women who take folic acid for at least 1 year before they become pregnant can cut their risk for having a premature baby born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy by half (4). The study also suggests that these women can reduce their risk of having a very premature baby (born before 32 completed weeks) by up to 70 percent. Premature babies are at increased risk of newborn complications and lasting disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy and vision loss, with very premature babies at the highest risk.

Iron is a mineral that is an essential constituent of blood and muscle, and is require for transporting oxygen in the blood stream. Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition in pregnancy; studies indicated that approximately 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women are iron deficient (5). Iron helps both the mother and baby’s blood carry oxygen. Typical symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue, irritability, weakness, pale skin color.

Calcium: Getting enough calcium is essential during pregnancy. If mom doesn’t get enough calcium from her diet, the body takes it from her bones to give to her baby. Over time, this loss may weaken bone and lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis makes the bones weak and more likely to break. Calcium is used throughout your body. It helps keep your bones and teeth strong. During the last two trimesters of pregnancy and during breastfeeding, your body absorbs more calcium from food than when you are not pregnant. Your baby needs this extra calcium to build healthy teeth and bones. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet during pregnancy, the calcium your baby needs will be taken from your bones.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Folic Acid. Updated 1/30/08.
2. Berry, R.J., et al. Prevention of Neural Tube Defects with Folic Acid in China. New England Journal of Medicine, volume 341, number 20, November 11, 1999, pages 1485-1490.
3. Botto, L.D., et al. Vitamin Supplements and the Risk for Congenital Anomalies Other Than Neural Tube Defects. American Journal of Medical Genetics C Semin. Med. Genet., volume 125, number 1, February 15, 2004, pages 12-21.
4. Bukowski, R., et al. Preconceptional Folate Supplementation and the Risk of Spontaneous Preterm Birth: A Cohort Study. PLoS Med, volume 6, number 5, May 12, 2009: e1000061

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