Folic acid is so crucial for pregnancy that doctors recommend it be taken regularly up to a year prior to getting pregnant. That places folic acid, along with the uterus, on a very short list of things you need for pregnancy — a list which currently doesn’t even include sex. Conclusion? Folic acid is more important than sex.
Seriously. She Needs Folic Acid
So why does folic acid outrank your penis (at least when considering the things she needs in her body in order to have a happy healthy baby)? Folic acid helps the formation of the neural tube in the first few weeks of fetal development. Very serious neural tube defects (NTDs) like spina bifida and anencephaly can occur if things don’t go well during that period.
To put a fine point on it, research shows that the risk of NTDs can decrease up to 50-percent when women take the daily recommended 400 mcg of folic acid. For women who’ve already had a child with an NTD, that risk can decrease up to 70-percent.
Where To Get Folic Acid
One of the best ways to score folic acid is through a daily supplement like a prenatal vitamin. That said, you should still keep your eyes out when you’re hitting the grocery store. Many breakfast cereals, grains and flours are fortified with up to 100 percent (or more) of the daily value (DV) of folic acid. Of which, sadly, there still isn’t one for sex. Advantage, folic acid, again.
To find if your grocery items include that hit of folic acid, check out the nutrition label on those toaster strudels or whatever. Find the vitamin section and scan for folic acid. Because it’s sneaky like that, it will also be found as “folate.” The percentage to the right is the percentage of DV contained in a serving.
By the by, the difference between folate and folic acid is (basically) that folic acid is synthetic and folate is found naturally in certain foods. They’re also metabolized slightly differently but offer the same prenatal benefits.
The Folic Acid Shopping List
In addition to supplements and fortified foodstuffs. Check out this list these foods that are high in folic acid:
- Leafy greens: Popeye’s pal spinach is on this list. Consider spinach salads. Actually don’t consider. Make her this one from the Pioneer Woman, which could give your chances for lovin’ more than a prairie.
- Lentils: She needs the ton of good stuff packed in these little delights. Don’t be intimidated. Here are 11 recipes to try, which is one better than 10.
- Citrus Fruits: Check it out! No need to prepare these in a special way. But they can be romantic too. As long as you’re enjoying a Channel Orange by the Frank Ocean.
- Asparagus: As long as both of you are eating them, you shouldn’t get too self conscious about the smell.
- Broccoli: There’s a great broccoli recipe that’s totally easy to remember: Melt Velveeta, pour over broccoli.
- Sunflower Seeds: Is the entirety of MLB super freaked out about getting pregnant at any moment?
- Avocados: For pregnancy guac, obviously. You can balance the bowl on her belly
Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Of course none of the assumes you’re going hog wild without the guidance of a physician. A study published early in 2016 suggests that “very high” levels of folate in women (far more than what is recommended) at delivery could double the risk of the child developing an autism spectrum disorder. That risk was doubled even further when high levels of B12 were also present. So keep the doc advised of both supplements and diet to make sure you’re not over-doing it.
The same goes for you, too. The jury is still out about whether too much folic acid could be bad for dudes. So maybe just put your daily multi on pause for the next 9 months if your primary health-care person agrees. But know they’ll still probably confirm that thing about folic acid being more important than sex. Sorry.