Folic Acid Intake During Pregnancy Prevents Birth Defects; 5 Other Important Vitamins to Take for a Safe Delivery

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Jan 19, 2016 05:46 AM EST

Researchers from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) blamed the UK government for the surge of babies born with birth defects. According to the report by Independent, adding folic acid to the flour would have prevented the catastrophe.

Folic acid is a critical prenatal vitamin that is recommended to pregnant mothers. It contains folate which plays a role in the proper development of the baby's brain and spinal cord. Failure to take or lack of folic acid may result in babies born with neural tube defects including spina bifida (incomplete spinal cord or vertebrae development) and anencephaly (incomplete brain development), WebMD reports. Anencephalic babies do not survive for long and those with spina bifida become disabled for life.

Approximately 2,000 babies in the UK have suffered from serious birth defects due to pregnant mothers lacking from it. 

"Given the evidence from the Medical Research Council Vitamin Study regarding the efficacy of folic acid in preventing neural tube defects, the failure of Britain to fortify flour with folic acid has had significant consequences," the researchers said in the report published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

"The recent evidence that only 28% of pregnant women in England in 2012 took folic acid supplements at the correct time indicates that, in practice, recommending folic acid supplementation is largely ineffective."

The failure of the country to put folic acid in flour has resulted in "avoidable pregnancy terminations, neonatal death, stillbirths and permanent serious disabilities in surviving children."

Folic acid has been found to also reduce the risk of premature birth, miscarriage, cleft lip, cleft palate as well as reduce the mother's risk of getting pregnancy complications. It has been found that it can reduce heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and stroke as well.

However, women who are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant shouldn't solely rely on folic acid. Here are 5 other important vitamins that will aid your baby's safe delivery:

1.) Vitamin D

According to the NHS, vitamin D is crucial for both mother and child. Pregnant women should be able to provide the babies in their womb with vitamin D so as to help properly develop their bones and teeth. The government agency recommends 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily during term and breastfeeding.

2.) Calcium

Calcium is important for the baby's bones and teeth as well as your own.

3.) Iron

Iron prevents anemia and pregnancy is a very taxing event in a women's life so having extra energy will be largely beneficial.

4.) Vitamin C

This vitamin is responsible for protecting tissue damage and in helping the body absorb iron. Taking vitamin c will help build a healthy immune system as well.

5.) Iodine

Taking iodine supplements play an important role in the brain and nervous system development of a baby. Deficiency of this mineral can lead to brain damage, mental impairment or delayed development, according to an article by Telegraph.

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