When deciding to be a surrogate or egg donor, it is important to commit to doing everything possible to ensure a healthy baby for the intended parents. Folic acid is one of the most important supplements to take both before the procedure and during pregnancy.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a B-vitamin. It aids in proper cell growth and division as well as the development of red blood cells and DNA production. When taken before and during early pregnancy it can prevent up to 70% of neural tube defects. It improves egg quality and ovarian function.
Folic acid may also protect against:
- Cleft lip and palate· Premature birth
- Low birth weight/poor growth in the womb
- Pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia
- Congenital heart defects
A woman of childbearing age should take in at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. Often this is increased to 600 micro-grams during pregnancy. This already exists in most prenatal vitamins. On the other hand, your doctor may prescribe it as a separate or additional supplement. Fortified foods such as bread, rice, pasta, and some breakfast cereals are also a good source. However, women struggle with attaining the full recommended amount from food alone. Therefore, it is important to take any folic acid prescribed to you as well.
Is folic acid the same as folate?
Folate is a general term used to describe many forms of B9-vitamin. Folate is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans. Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. Folate is used in supplements and fortified foods because it is more easily absorbed by the body. Many studies across the world have proven it effective in preventing neural tube defects. However, no studies currently exist that have shown other forms of folate to do so.
What are neural tube defects?
Approximately 3,000 babies are born with neural tube defects in the United States each year. Neural tube defects are serious birth defects of the brain and spine. The most common are spina bifida and anencephaly. Neural tube defects develop very early in pregnancy when the neural tube, which forms the early brain and spinal cord, doesn’t close properly. Because the baby’s neural tube closes during the first weeks of pregnancy, it is very important to start taking folic acid at least one month prior to conception.
Contact us with any more questions about surrogacy and how to work towards a healthy baby.