Folic acid (also known as foliate) plays a significant role in synthesizing D.N.A., which is the basic element of all cells. In essence, folic acid is important in aiding the improvement and growth of cells, especially during the first trimester. It is also important in building nerve cells and the spinal cord. In addition, folic acid can prevent diseases and abnormalities, or the malfunction and disability of the nervous system, brain, and spinal cord such as in anencephaly and spinal bifida.
After the first trimester, the body may gradually need less folic acid until it is not necessary at all. However, the doctor may advise that the expectant mother continue taking folic acid in order to improve the red blood cells. Folic acid can be found in iron capsules.
Women who plan to become pregnant are suggested to consume folic acid on a daily basis, starting from the time of making the decision to get pregnant to at least 3 months until the end of the first trimester (under the doctor’s advice). The regular consumption of foods that contain folic acid is also recommended. These foods include leafy vegetables, brown rice, red beans, fruit, etc.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, 1992. , 1992