Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy and breastfeeding period has increased rapidly. Likewise, there is a growing need for vitamins and minerals in them about 10% to 50% compared to the condition when not pregnant or breastfeeding. If not matched with nutrient intake and nutrition for breastfeeding mothers as necessary, it may cause undesirable problems.
In addition to the needs of carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, iron, zinc, protein, and fat which are higher than usual, folic acid is one of the nutritional needs that must be fulfilled. The need of folic acid to be fulfilled, with the intake of other nutrients will make the breast milk nutrition which is essential for the good health of the baby.
Consuming foods rich in folic acid can optimize energy levels. Folic acid is essentially part of the vitamin B complex which are water soluble, but then also known as separate nutritional elements.
The Functions of Folic Acid
Folic acid is a vital nutrient vital which functions to help the formation of red blood cells thereby increasing hemoglobin levels, as well as for the prevention of birth defects on neural tube or spina bifida defect, (NTD or Neural Tube Defect), anencephaly (causing no brain development), heart disorder, causing cleft lip and urinary tract defects in the fetus / infant.
For pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, folic acid deficiency can be risky in the incidence of anemia (lack of blood) and also heart disorders.
Sources of Nutrition
Breastfeeding mothers need 300 or 500 to 600 mcg of folic acid and this can be fulfilled from the intake of food and beverages (fruit juice and vegetable juice). Sources of folic acid intake can be obtained from vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, seaweed, sprouts, beans (soy beans, green beans, red beans and grains, enriched bread wheat, also citrus fruits, avocado, red meat and chicken liver.
In addition, the need of folic acid can be fulfilled from medical vitamins, can even be obtained from prenatal vitamin supplements or vitamins that are consumed during pregnancy. Therefore, the need for such high nutritional intake certainly cannot be fulfilled only from food, so Mothers may take a concerted addition of various types of supplements as recommended by the doctor or midwife. However, vegetable and fruit should still be the main source and should not be abandoned, especially if to rely entirely on supplements.
Folic acid is essentially needed by everyone, but it needs more than double in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers with their interests to provide nutrition for the breastfeeding mother herself at the same time for the fetus in the womb or the baby who is already born and still needs breast milk consumption. Folic acid consumed by breastfeeding mothers will improve the quality of the breast milk which would affect both the baby and the development of health.