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Week 34 Pregnancy Nutrient: Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

What it is: Folic acid isn't just important when you're trying to conceive or early on in your pregnancy. You'll want to fill up on it throughout your nine months, since it plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly. Folic acid helps the body break down, use and create protein, the building block of our cells. It also plays a role in DNA creation and assists in the formation of baby's heart and circulatory system. Early in pregnancy, it can reduce the risk of neural-tube defects like spina bifida, which helps prevent early miscarriage and premature delivery.

Why you need it: Because most birth defects develop in the first few weeks of pregnancy, it’s more important than ever to load up as early as possible. But you need to keep up your folic acid intake as your baby grows, too, since it helps in the development of key systems in your baby's body, and lowers the risk of preterm birth, gestational diabetes, autism and heart defects.

How much you need daily: 400 mcg starting at least one month before conception and 400-600 mcg from all sources throughout all nine months of pregnancy and while breastfeeding

Where you can get your fill: Oranges, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, cauliflower, beets

Recipes to Try:

  • Breakfast Burrito
  • Ginger Papaya Soup With Strawberries
  • Arugula Salad With Mango and Cucumber

Related Stories:

  • More Pregnancy Nutrients Week-by-Week
  • Learn to Eat Well During Pregnancy 
  • Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy Health

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