Monday, January 14, 2008

Folic Acid for Latinas

Well, as promised, I am dedicating the next few posts to pregnancy and breastfeeding. To start off, I'm providing you a link to one of the most important issues for pregnant Latinas, and that is the importance of getting enough folic acid. As a group, Latinas have the highest rates of neural tube defects during pregnancy. Many Latinas don't have access to proper health care during their pregnancies, and as a result most likely don't even know what Folic Acid is. But this vital nutrient is a type of B vitamin that helps with tissue growth and cell function. It helps prevent certain birth defects including spina bifida, a condition where the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth. As a result, newborns may suffer partial or complete paralysis in their legs and the exposed spinal cord is very susceptible to infection.

Good sources of folic acid include citrus fruits/juices, beans/legumes, and dark green leafy veggies, to name a few.

Since folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is excreted in the urine, it is hard to overdose on folic acid, so I strongly suggest that all of us Latinas take a multi-vitamin every day. Even if you buy some children's vitamins and pop one in your mouth with breakfast, that would be sufficient. And the other advantages of taking prenatal vitamins include longer, stronger nails, beautiful skin and healthy shiny, hair. You can't beat that!

So get out there, Ladies, and eat some folic acid!

For more information on folic acid, visit the March of Dimes web site here.

For more information on Latinas and pregnancy, check out the National Latina Health Network here.

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