Anyone who has seen an orange juice commercial knows that folic acid is great for women who are currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant. But what does folic acid actually do and where can you find it (other than your morning Tropicana)? We talked to Preconceive nutritionist, Jess Cording, MS, RD, CDN to get the scoop on this essential little vitamin. Jess coaches people (pregnant or not) wrestling with familiar questions like, “Should I be eating this?”, “Why should I be eating this?”, and “What else should I be eating that I am not?”
We’ve all heard of it, but what is folic acid and what benefits are associated with consuming folic acid before and during pregnancy?
Folic acid is a B-vitamin that plays a role in the development of new cells. During pregnancy, it’s especially important for promoting healthy development of your baby, especially in the early days before many women even know they’re pregnant. Getting enough folic acid can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord and may protect against miscarriage.
How much folic acid do I need?
Where can I find folic acid in foods I eat already?
Good food sources of folic acid include:
• Leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, etc.)
• Citrus fruits (oranges)
• Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc.)
• Fortified grain products (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.)
Pro Tip: Scope out labels to help you determine whether you’re meeting your needs. Supplements are recommended before becoming pregnant and into the first trimester.
Preconceive helps women navigate fertility, pregnancy and parenthood offering on-demand consults and prenatal classes for the 21st century. All consults and classes are led by certified experts in breastfeeding, sleep coaching, maternal mental heath, genetics, fertility nursing, perinatal fitness, adoption, nutrition, pediatric nursing, infant safety, and labor and delivery.
Jess Cording is a nutrition coach for Preconceive. She teaches prenatal nutrition classes and offers one-on-one consult over the phone.