My husband and I are hoping to have a second child within the next year. What can I be doing now to help ensure this child's good health?Dear Dr. Cory:
My husband and I are hoping to have a second child within the next year. what can I be doing now to help ensure this child's good health?
Dear Ms. Sayre:
One way to help ensure your unborn child's good health is to concentrate on eating a healthful diet. In particular, your diet should contain enough folic acid. Taken prior to and during early pregnancy, the B vitamin folic acid can help prevent birth defects of the spine and brain, such as spina bifida and anencephaly anencephaly /an·en·ceph·a·ly/ (an?en-sef´ah-le) congenital absence of the cranial vault, with the cerebral hemispheres completely missing or reduced to small masses.anencephal´ic
n. , respectively.
The Children's Better Health Institute has promoted the use of folic acid since the early 1980s. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC See Control Data, century date change and Back Orifice.
CDC - Control Data Corporation ) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. ) announced that all women of childbearing potential should consume 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily. That's the same as 400 micrograms, the measurement on some labels.
This recommended amount of folic acid can be obtained in multivitamins or in supplements containing 0.4 mg folic acid. Some breakfast cereals also contain 0.4 mg folic acid per serving. Orange juice, legumes Legumes
A family of plants that bear edible seeds in pods, including beans and peas.
Mentioned in: Cholesterol, High
legumes (l , various types of beans, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of folate.
Researchers report in the December 6, 1995, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association is an international peer-reviewed general medical journal, published 48 times per year by the American Medical Association. JAMA is the most widely circulated medical journal in the world. that the total neural tube defect neural tube defect
Congenital defect of the brain or spinal cord from abnormal growth of their precursor, the neural tube (see embryology), usually with spine or skull defects. rate theoretically could be reduced by an estimated 48 percent if an increased number of women would consume 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. Taking folic acid may also have a protective effect on heart disease, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer.
If you are not already taking a prenatal vitamin specially balanced for the needs of pregnancy, your doctor may want you to start. Keep in mind that excess vitamin A may cause birth defects, so caution should be taken to prevent overuse of multivitamin supplements or fortified foods containing vitamin A.