The Baby Vitamin

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Don’t you just love this holiday? Or maybe it’s just me… So, how many people were blaming the turkey last night as they were falling asleep on the couch? If that sounds familiar then I invite you to take a trip down memory lane to my Thanksgiving post last year…but if you don’t have time let me just remind you that it’s not the Turkey.

The culprits are all of those carbohydrates (stuffing, buns, potatoes and starchy vegetables such as parsnips, yams etc) you just ate. Since we’re strolling along down memory lane let me bring you back to mid February when I chastised pill poppers.  Did you know that almost half of pregnancies in Canada are unplanned? Scary statistic! So, according to Canada’s Food Guide women of childbearing age should be taking a multi-vitamin that contains 400 mcg of folate. Folate is really important during the first three weeks of pregnancy as it helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. It is estimated that 70% of neural tube defects could be prevented with sufficient maternal folate intake. Did you notice that I said the first three weeks of pregnancy? Planned or unplanned most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at this point!

“Folate” is the form found in foods, while “folic acid” is the form found in fortified foods and supplements. Dark green vegetables are a good source of folate. Examples include arugula, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, fresh parsley, green peas, mustard greens, romaine lettuce and spinach. Plus, most grain products fortify their products with folic acid, so take home message:

If you are eating a healthy diet and following Canada’s Food Guide you probably do not need a multivitamin but if in doubt and you’re a woman of childbearing age then it might be a good idea.

Image courtesy of ccharmon