I’d say that all women that come into our office are aware that it is important to supplement with folic acid before they get pregnant and during pregnancy. Another research study was just released showing benefits of folic acid in relation to growth in-utero. However because of the negative research studies about supplementing with folic acid (the synthetic form found in 95% of nutritional supplements) I highly recommend using a supplement with the natural form which is folate. Right Foods, Innate, Standard Process and New Chapter are four brands that come to mind that use folate from a whole food source in their supplements. Good dietary sources of folate are: spinach, many beans, chicken liver, beef liver, chard, kale, collards, avocado and papaya. Bottom line is that if you are planning on having children do supplement with a good pre-natal, but you can go one step further and use a whole food supplement containing folate rather than the synthetic folic acid found in most supplements.
Published online by Cambridge University Press 30 Mar 2009
Periconception folic acid supplementation, fetal growth and the risks of low birth weight and preterm birth: the Generation R Study
Sarah Timmermans, Vincent W. V. Jaddoe, Albert Hofman et al.
Countries worldwide, including the Netherlands, recommend that women planning pregnancy use a folic acid supplement during the periconception period. Some countries even fortify staple foods with folic acid. These recommendations mainly focus on the prevention of neural tube defects, despite increasing evidence that folic acid may also influence birth weight. We examined whether periconception folic acid supplementation affects fetal growth and the risks of low birth weight, small for gestational age (SGA) and preterm birth, in the Generation R Study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Main outcome measures were fetal growth measured in mid- and late pregnancy by ultrasound, birth weight, SGA and preterm birth in relation to periconception folic supplementation (0·4–0·5 mg). Data on 6353 pregnancies were available. Periconception folic acid supplementation was positively associated with fetal growth. Preconception folic acid supplementation was associated with 68 g higher birth weight (95 % CI 37·2, 99·0) and 13 g higher placental weight (95 % CI 1·1, 25·5), compared to no folic acid supplementation. In these analyses parity significantly modified the effect estimates. Start of folic acid supplementation after pregnancy confirmation was associated with a reduced risk of low birth weight (OR 0·61, 95 % CI 0·40, 0·94). Similarly, reduced risks for low birth weight and SGA were observed for women who started supplementation preconceptionally, compared to those who did not use folic acid (OR 0·43, 95 % CI 0·28, 0·69 and OR 0·40, 95 % CI 0·22, 0·72). In conclusion, periconception folic acid supplementation is associated with increased fetal growth resulting in higher placental and birth weight, and decreased risks of low birth weight and SGA.