Folic acid plays a vital role in the cell development as it helps in the formation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).
“Folic acid is very important for women who give birth because when they lack it, it affects the unborn child. In fact, if you are trying for a baby, it is advised you start taking folic acid because some people get pregnant for almost four weeks without knowing they are pregnant.”
When mothers lack folic acid, it could affect the spinal cord of the baby, by creating a gap in the spine of the baby or spinal bifida.”
There is no known toxicity of folic acid. However, women who are taking folic acid supplements, especially if they are current or former users of oral contraceptives, are at risk of lower plasma zinc concentrations.
But it is recommended that these women take additional zinc to prevent lowered zinc levels and take B12 supplements along with folic acid supplements.
It is unlikely for the mother to detect if the unborn baby has a problem as she will feel little or nothing. Only an ultrasound scan can show if the head of the baby is larger than normal or has a swelling at the back. Management of the condition is by surgery through diversion either by ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt or endoscopy. However, the condition can be prevented to some extent.
Ideally, every young lady who is sexually active should take folic acid whether you are pregnant or not because you don’t know when you will get pregnant. This is because the critical period for the formation of organs and the brain which is between the first six weeks.
In fact, for the brain, you are talking about the 3rd to the 5th week in which case a mother may not even know that she has taken in.”
Hydrocephalus, a condition of excessive accumulation of water in the brain could either be congenital or acquired. However, experts say, taking the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can prevent birth defects, including hydrocephalus.
Culled from The Nigerian Daily Times Newspaper