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Folic Acid May Increase Placenta Size

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Supplementing with folic acid before and during pregnancy may increase placental size, according to findings published recently in the journal Nutrients.

[Image source: Adobe Stock]


A highly vascular organ that is essential for the exchange of nutrients and waste products between the mother and the developing fetus, the placenta is formed during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This important organ also produces vital hormones that are required in order to maintain the pregnancy to term and prepare the mother’s breast tissue for nursing the baby. A failure to receive sufficient nutrients in the early days of pregnancy can result in poor placental development, potentially compromising the health of the fetus.

Ensuring a proper supply of all the various essential nutrients is vital for the developing fetus. This is because an inadequate supply of nutrients can affect the health, organ systems, and even survival of the baby. Moreover, the way a baby’s organs develop during pregnancy can also determine how their growth continues after it is born.

Folic acid deficiency in a pregnant woman can lead to serious neural tube defects in the fetus, potentially leading to miscarriage. A neural tube defect can occur even before a woman is aware that she is pregnant. Every woman of childbearing age should therefore take at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily, regardless of whether she is pregnant or not.

To learn more about the importance of essential nutrients during pregnancy, see parts one and two of the special pregnancy feature article on our website.

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