Dr Lucky Osaigbovo, a Benin-based gynaecologist with Faith Clinic, Ugbowo, has advised pregnant women to constantly take folic acid during early pregnancy to avoid birth defect.
Osaigbovo gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Benin.
The gynaecologist described folic acid as a form of man-made vitamin B called folate.
The medical practitioner said that it was important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet daily before pregnancy and 12 weeks into pregnancy.
“Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including “spinal bifida’’.
“Folic acid is a pregnancy superhero.
Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects,’’ he said.
According to him, folate plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps the baby’s neural tube develop into their brain and spinal cord.
Osaigbovo said folate could be found naturally in dark green vegetables and citrus fruits.
“Birth defects occur within the first three to four weeks of pregnancy.
So it is important to have folate in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.
“If you talked to your doctor when you were trying to conceive, he probably will tell you to start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid,’’ he said.