Role of Folic Acid during Pregnancy

Folic acid is very important for all women during pregnancy. Also known as folate, folic acid is a B vitamin and plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells. There are lots of folic acid rich foods but only dietary source of folic acid is not sufficient during pregnancy. So, folic acid supplement is necessary along with folate rich foods for a healthy pregnancy. In fact, it should be taken before you are pregnant, though on the recommendation of your doctor who will know better how much folic acid your body needs before, during and after pregnancy.


Dietary sources of folic acid include:


  • Green leafy vegetables – Rich sources are amaranth, ambat chukka, spinach, mint
  • Oilseeds like gingelly (til) and soya bean
  • Orange Juice
  • Chickpeas
  • Other legumes like green gram and red gram
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Black-eyed beans
  • Okra
  • Cluster beans
  • Enriched grains

Since, folates get dissolved in water, boiling the vegetables and draining off the water will destroy all the folates they contain. So, it is better that the vegetables are steamed or cooked in a microwave to help you to get all the nutrients.

Benefits of folic acid during pregnancy:

  • Produces red blood cells
  • Protects your baby from neural tube defects like spina bifida
  • Prevents your baby from birth defects like cleft palate
  • Protects you from suffering from anaemia
  • Prevents your baby from brain defects like anencephaly


Most of the defects occur during the first month of pregnancy when most women don’t even realize that they are pregnant. It is better to plan your pregnancy and have the required amount of folic acid before getting pregnant or during the childbearing age. But consuming more than recommended may be harmful to you and your baby’s health. So, take folic acid supplements as recommended and have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

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Skin Care During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a phase in a woman’s life during which your body undergoes different type of changes. These changes occur as your body produces hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. Changes on your skin also occur as a part of pregnancy. If you are lucky enough, you will look luscious and beautiful. But in some, the effect is just the opposite resulting in varied types of skin problems.


During pregnancy, the area around your chin and mouth are the most common areas affected. Due to the baby bump, stretch marks also occur on your skin. So, it becomes very essential that you take care of your skin during pregnancy. From the foods you eat to products you use on your skin, all have effects on your baby. Though most of the skin products are safe, there are some which may be harmful to your developing baby.


You can combat stretch marks by using cocoa butter which is safe to use during pregnancy. It helps in diminishing blemishes, as well. You may also notice darker skin in certain areas, especially around the areolas due to hyper pigmentation. In order to make the dark patches fairer, you can use lotions which are safe to use during pregnancy.

You can also opt for natural and oil-free skin products during the gestation period. Such products don’t contain harmful chemicals which are not good for the baby in the womb. There are some products especially made for pregnant women. Otherwise, you can consult an experienced dermatologist to treat different types of skin problems that occur during pregnancy.


You should avoid using skin products that contain the following ingredients:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Any type of Retinoid

Make pregnancy the most beautiful phase of your life by eating well and taking care of your skin. You will definitely like playing the role of mom-to-be. Stay happy, and your pregnancy will definitely be beautiful!

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The foetus is surrounded by a water-like fluid known as amniotic fluid. This fluid contains the live cells of the foetus and other substances which are helpful in determining the health of the baby before birth.

Amniocentesis is a specialised medical procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is taken out from the womb to perform a laboratory test. Usually, it is done between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy. When done before 15th week of pregnancy, the chances of miscarriages or other complications increase. It is performed on those women who have the risk of genetic disorders.


Need for amniocentesis

With the help of amniocentesis, the following things could be determined:

  • Genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormality: Genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome and sickle cell anaemia can be detected. Down’s syndrome has adverse effect on the mental and physical appearance of the baby and  in sickle cell anaemia the red cells are abnormally developed and lyse(break )easily.
  • Infection: It also helps to detect any kind of bacterial or viral infection in suspected cases

How is amniocentesis  done?


Prior to amniocentesis, an ultrasound is performed which helps in detecting the position  and condition of the unborn baby .

Then under ultrasound guidance, a thin needle which is inserted into the uterus through the abdomen. And approximately 15 to 20 ml of amniotic fluid is withdrawn

The sample of the amniotic fluid is then tested in the laboratory.



Risks of amniocentesis

Though amniocentesis is helpful in detecting the health of the unborn baby, it includes some risks to the mother. Following are some of the complications which may occur in pregnant women or in the baby:

  • Miscarriage: If amniocentesis is performed before 15 weeks of your pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage is higher.
  • Amniotic fluid leakage: It is very rare that the amniotic fluid leaks. And if it so happens, normally it stops within a week without having any effect on your pregnancy.
  • Injury during needle insertion: While performing amniocentesis, the unborn baby might move its leg or arm and get a little hurt. But it doesn’t cause any serious injury to the baby.
  • Transmission of infection: If you are suffering from any kind of infection like toxoplasmosis, hepatitis C or HIV, these infections may get transmitted to the foetus during amniocentesis.

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