A healthy baby is a dream of every expectant woman. Eating healthy food is essential to achieve this dream. One of the crucial nutrients in women diet is folate that is essential for baby’s healthy brain & spine. It is necessary to prevent Neural Tube Defects in infants.
What are Neural Tube Defects?
The embryonic structure that develops into the brain and spinal cord is called the neural tube. By the 28th day of conception, neural tube folds inward & closes. If it doesn’t close completely, Neural tube Defects (NTD) develops.
Neural Tube Defects are a group of severe birth defects which affect infant’s brain & spinal cord. Two major neural tube birth defects are Anencephaly and Spina Bifida. In Anencephaly, the tissues that form the infant brain do not develop properly. As a result, they stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Spina Bifida is the most common birth defeat in the United States, affecting about 1,500 babies each year. Babies with Spina Bifida have a defect of the spinal column that can result in paralysis, hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain, learning difficulties, and mental retardation, bladder & bowel problems. Many children with Spina Bifida are forced to live with devices like leg braces, clutches or wheelchair.
Folate & Folic Acid
Vitamin B is essential for embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation. Folate is the natural form of Vitamin B, whereas Folic Acid is their synthetic forms which can be found in fortified foods & vitamin pills.
It is sad that in most of the cases, these defects occur during the first few weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman knows that she is pregnant.
U.S. Public Health Service recommended that all women of childbearing age must take 0.4 mg of folic acid to prevent Neural Tube Defects.
To include Folate in the diet is easy as it found in a wide range of delicious food like citrus fruits, avocado, melon, beets, dark green leafy vegetables, chicken, beef, whole grains, and dried beans and peas. It is also available in fortified bread, rice, pasta, and cereals. Taking a Multi- vitamin pill containing 0.4 mg of folic acid daily, ensures of getting the recommended amount of folic acid.
In 1998, U.S Food & Drug Administration commanded cereal manufactures to fortify their products with folic acid, which resulted in a 43 % reduction of Neural Tube Defects in babies.
Make eating a Folate-rich diet a habit & give your baby a healthy and blissful life.
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