Do You Need Folic Acid For A Healthy Pregnancy? Or Is it Something Else?

Anchal Kapur

Natural Healing Advisor

03:11 PM | 12-04-2021

On your prenatal wellness journey, the one nutrient you’ll repeatedly come across as being essential is the water-soluble Vitamin B9 -aka- folic acid. Wondering why this is a highly recommended vitamin for your fertility? Read this blog to understand the role, functions & natural sources of folic acid so that you can increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy!

Firstly, let’s understand what is folic acid...or is it folate that you really need?
A group of chemically and functionally similar B vitamins that occur in nature are called “folates”. Folic Acid is the term used to signify the synthetic form of this. All the unnatural sources found in fortified cereals & supplements contain folic acid. Being an “essential” vitamin, it cannot be produced within the body and must be taken through dietary sources only. 

Although folic acid and folate are used interchangeably, their effect on your body is quite different. While folic acid is more readily used up by the body, the naturally occurring folate is what your body uses more “efficiently”. 

Why is it highly recommended while planning a pregnancy?
 Folate helps in the synthesis of DNA and cell growth. It is required for the normal production and maturation of red blood cells, is important for energy production and formation of amino acids. This makes it essential for preventing anaemia. It plays a major role in promoting a healthy formation of the brain and spinal cord of your baby in the early stages of pregnancy. And hence, it has become a common practice to prescribe folic acid if you are planning a pregnancy.

Do I need Folic Acid Supplements when I am trying to conceive?
Nature has infused optimum levels of nutrition in plant foods that are meant for our consumption. Researchers across the world claim that it is only when you decrease the quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diets that you put yourselves and your offsprings at a risk. 

Countries like Finland, France, Sweden, Singapore & Taiwan consider that as long as you are consuming a healthy diet with folate-rich foods and not excessively cooking them, you are consuming an adequate amount and do not require any additional folic acid supplementation.

 Hence, ensure that your diet is replete with whole, plant-based, high fibre foods and trust your body to provide the required nourishment.

Best Sources of Folate
Plants synthesize folates, making them the number one dietary source. In 1941, when researchers Mitchell Et al were studying this nutritional compound, they thought it best to name it after the Latin word “folium”, which translates as leaf. That’s how widely this vitamin is found in green leafy vegetables!

Here’s a list of top plant-based options that you must include in your diet to ensure optimum intake of folate.

Green Leafy Vegetables

  1. Spinach (Palak)

  2. Green Colocasia Leaves (Arabi Ke Patte)

  3. Mustard Leaves (Sarso Ka Saag)

  4. Parsley (Ajamod)

  5. Curry Leaves (Kadi Patta)

  6. Mint Leaves (Pudina)

Other Vegetables

  1. Tender Corn (Local)

  2. Bitter Gourd (Karela)

  3. Red & Yellow Capsicum

  4. Tender Field Beans (Fava Beans)

  5. Ladies Finger (Bhindi)

  6. Beet Root

  7. Broccoli


  1. Ripe Mango (Banganapalli/ Totapuri/Gulabkhas/Himsagar/Kesar)

  2. Avocado

  3. Orange

  4. Papaya

  5. Banana

Nuts & Seeds

  1. Gingelly (Til) Seeds (Black & White)

  2. Walnuts

  3. Groundnut

  4. Flax Seeds

  5. Sunflower Seeds

Pulses & Legumes

  1. Whole Bengal Gram (Kala Chana)

  2. White & Brown Cowpea (Chawli)

  3. Fava Beans

  4. Moth Bean (Matki)

  5. Rajmah (Black, Brown & Red)

  6. Soybean (White & Brown)

Cereals & Millets

  1. Foxtail Millet

  2. Whole Grains

Best Ways To Consume
The level of folate in your food that’s available to your body depends upon how you consume it. Folate is sensitive to heat and hence cooking can reduce the level of folate in foods. When eaten raw you get optimum levels. However if you find it difficult to eat raw in every meal, try steaming as it does not significantly affect the levels of folate in your meals!


(About Anchal Kapur - Anchal struggled with infertility in 2014, she was under heavy medication for hormonal imbalance & was en route to IVF.  But adopting a Natural Lifestyle helped her attain motherhood naturally. She is a Lifestyle Medicine Coach from Hippocrates Health Institute, US & a Nature Cure health coach from the International Institute of Mahayoga & Natural Hygiene, US. She has conceived an e-learning program ‘Boost Fertility Naturally’ where she educates women on diet & lifestyle to improve their reproductive health. YOU CAN JOIN ‘BOOST FERTILITY NATURALLY’ HERE).

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