There’s no question that women of childbearing age should take folic acid because it reduces a baby’s risk of being born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect.
New research shows there may be another good reason for expectant mothers to take the mineral:
It may prevent obesity in children.
Dr. Alva Roche Green, a Mayo Clinic family physician, encourages pregnant women to take the recommended amount of folic acid.
Folic acid, a mineral found in leafy greens, is important for pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Dr. Roche Green says, “We know that, if there is inadequate folic acid in your diet, you can have an increased risk of a neural tube defect, or spina bifida.”
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health reveals another reason pregnant women should take folic acid:
Those with low folic acid levels had a 45 percent increased risk of having a baby that developed obesity later in life, compared to the other 75 percent of the women.
And women who had low folic acid levels, and were also obese, had an even greater risk of having an obese child. The bottom line? Researchers continue to learn more about how nutrition in pregnancy impacts babies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends pregnant women get 1,000 micrograms of folic acid every day.