Low Carb Diet During Pregnancy & Birth Defects

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Birth Defects

According
to a research consuming a low-carbohydrate diet during pregnancy may increase
the risk of certain birth defects by 30 percent like spina
bifida (spine and spinal cord malformations) and anencephaly (missing parts of
the brain and skull). These birth defects can cause death or lifelong
disability.


This
brings to light the importance for women to consult   their
health care provider about any special diets or eating behaviors they routinely
practice. This study found that dietary intake of folic acid among pregnant women on
low- or no-carb diets was less than half that of women who didn’t limit
carbohydrates.

All
women who plan to become pregnant should take a daily multivitamin with at
least 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during pregnancy, according to
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many
women do not take the supplements until later in pregnancy, after a neural tube
defect might have occurred.

Birth Defects

 With increasing awareness folic acid is added
to enriched grain products, which can be an important source of the nutrient
for women who may become pregnant.



Good
dietary sources of folic acid include leafy green vegetables, such as spinach;
citrus fruits, such as orange juice; beans; and fortified breads, cereals, rice
and pasta.

In
addition to eating foods with natural folate, you can:


  • Take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day.
  • Check the label on the bottle to be sure it contains 100% of
    the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 mcg.
  • Eat fortified foods.
  • You can find folic acid in some breads, breakfast cereals,
    and corn masa flour.

Be sure to check the nutrient facts label and
look for one that has “100%” next to folic acid.


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