Folate is a vitamin that is critical to the health of a newly conceived embryo. Folate is most commonly seen in green leafy vegetables, which explains why pregnant women are often advised to eat them for their growing baby.
Folate can also be found in fruits and grains; it’s especially important to continue eating these during the first trimester, when a woman’s appetite may decrease due to morning sickness.
While there are many explanations as to why folate is crucial for a developing fetus, you must have enough folate as early as possible on your journey through pregnancy.
Consuming adequate folate early on also helps prevent neural tube defects and birth defects. Folate is an essential nutrient for the development of a healthy fetus.
The neural tube, which becomes the central nervous system, must develop properly to prevent future health problems. Folate is a crucial component in the production of RBCs and red blood cells.
These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to various parts of a growing embryo’s body; this ensures that all organs and tissues can develop properly with the proper amount of oxygen.
Without enough oxygen, certain organs may not form completely or at all; this can lead to serious birth defects like spina bifida. Folate also plays an integral role in creating DNA needed for rapid cell growth.
To understand how folate prevents congenital disabilities, it is important to understand how a developing embryo develops in the womb. Fetuses are born with about 1 million cells.
Those cells multiply rapidly for the first several weeks of pregnancy to produce over one trillion cells by the third trimester.
Embryonic growth depends on these multiplying cells dividing and being organized in the proper sequence. However, this process does not take place without folate’s presence.
Folate is one of the vitamins and is essential for protein production. The body cannot store folate, so it must be replenished regularly.
When you continue to consume foods that are rich in folate early on, you promote the growth and development of your baby’s neural tube. Neural tube defects are among the most common causes of congenital disabilities and can be completely prevented if you get enough folate early enough in pregnancy.
Nature Of Birth Defects Caused By Lack Of Folate
Many birth defects occur when a developing embryo does not develop properly because there was something wrong with how its cells divided or grew. Neural tube defects occur when the neural tube fails to close properly.
It can result in a miscarriage or a baby born with anencephaly or spina bifida, which is a birth defect in which the spinal cord does not close fully. A portion of the spinal cord protrudes through an opening in the baby’s back.
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