Folic acid’s key role is to make new cells by helping produce genetic material, DNA and RNA. That’s why folic acid is so important during periods of rapid cell growth, like pregnancy. Folate also acts in red blood cells and might protect against developing heart disease and breast cancer.
Insufficient levels of folic acid can be a reason of many serious health issues such as high risk of cervical, colon, brain, and lung cancer. That’s why it is recommended for women of childbearing age consume at least 400 mcg of folate daily. Pregnant women or those who are planning to become pregnant should have up to 600 mcg each day.
Here are top 7 foods that contain folic acid:
- Pulses, including lentils (179 mcg per half-cup serving) and chickpeas (121 mcg per can).
- Raw spinach (58 mcg per cup).
- Cooked broccoli (84 mcg per half-cup).
- Asparagus (70 mcg per cup).
- Avocado (54 mcg per serving).
- Eggs (24 mcg per egg).
- Peanuts (175 mcg per half-cup).
A seven-year study, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), claims that pregnancy supplements, taken by many women in order to boost their babies’ IQs are a waste of money.
The study was executed by the academics from South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide. The research included 543 women in Australia. Half of them were given supplements containing DHA for the last half of their pregnancy. Other women took dummy pills.
The scientists followed their children for 7 months and carried out tests on their development when they were 18 months old, 4 years old and then 7 years old. The researchers didn’t find any difference between their general intelligence, language skills, or overall level of IQ.
Researchers found a blood protein in pregnant women that could be a reliable indicator of pregnancy complications and poor growth of foetus. This may help them to develop a blood test to predict possible complications.
To assess whether levels of this blood protein, DLK 1, may be associated with foetal health, the team of researchers assessed the blood samples taken at around 36 weeks of pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes of 129 first-time mothers.
The researchers found that mothers with low levels of the DLK1 protein had more chances to have infants that were smaller for gestational age compared to those with higher DLK protein levels.
More information here.
A new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that morning nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be associated with the lower risk of pregnancy loss.
In their research, the scientists followed nearly 800 women whose pregnancies were confirmed by urine tests. The participants were asked to track nausea and vomiting in diaries and questionnaires.
Having analyzed the received data, the researchers have come to the conclusion that nausea, or nausea and vomiting, were associated with a 50% to 75% reduction in the risk of pregnancy loss in women who already experienced one or two pregnancy losses previously.
More information here.