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Prenatal Essentials: Folic Acid

Get the 411 on why folic acid is critical during pregnancy and hear how Bump Water could change the way women take prenatals.

Prenatal Essentials: Folic Acid

We hear a lot about folic acid during pregnancy. The benefits your fetus gains from the vitamin is enough to swallow horse pills, ergh, prenatal vitamins, even if they make you even more nauseous than morning sickness. But for Brooklyn mama Stacy Rauen, co-founder of the soon-to-launch Bump Water (coming this November!), enough was enough. “I was drinking sparkling water like a camel, and so my husband, Jon, started researching if there was an easier way — like a water — to get the vitamins, especially folic acid, that I needed. We looked and there wasn’t; or if a water had the right vitamins, it had something else in it (caffeine, high sugar) that wasn’t good for pregnant women,” says Rauen.

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Rauen and her husband partnered with a couple friend — Spencer and Amber Wilcox — and worked with beverage experts with a mission to bring their idea to life. The result is basically a prenatal vitamin in a water that’s low in sugar and calories (10 for the Stevia-sweetened versions or 90-100 calories thanks to organic cane sugar), offered in sparkling and flat. “When you are pregnant, you need to drink more water and take multiple vitamins, especially folic acid. So we hope we have created a win-win for everyone,” says Rauen.

Here Rauen tells us everything you need to know about folic acid. Drink up!

What is folic acid?

It is a B vitamin that plays a key role in the development of red blood cells and your baby’s brain and spinal cord.

Why is it important during pregnancy?

Research shows that folic acid is an essential part of healthy fetal development — before and during pregnancy — by preventing major birth defects, namely neural tube defects. (Neural tube defects refer to those of baby’s brain, spine, and spinal cord.) Recent studies also show a link between folic acid deficiency in mothers who have conceived and autism.

When should a pregnant woman start taking it?

The majority of these defects occur at the very beginning of pregnancy, usually within the first month, sometimes before a woman knows she is pregnant. (It doesn’t help that half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are not planned!) Taking the recommended daily dose of folic acid before conception (most doctors recommend at least a month before, if not earlier) and throughout your pregnancy helps prevent these defects. In fact, all people need folic acid for good health, especially older adults.

How much should you take? Can you take too much of it?

The general rule (aka the recommended daily allowance) is 400 micrograms as part of your daily diet for women of childbearing age (yes, even if you aren’t planning on becoming pregnant), but that number changes as women and their bumps grow (it’s also recommended while breastfeeding). Some doctors will suggest even more, upwards of 800-1,000 micrograms. If you take too much, it is water soluble and is excreted in your urine.

Can you find it in any foods?

Some foods — leafy vegetables, fruits, beans — contain the natural form of folic acid (folate), but since the body doesn’t use the natural form as easily as the manmade form (folic acid), it’s essential for women to get folic acid in a vitamin or a liquid product containing it (like Bump Water).

Can pregnant women drink Bump Water and ingest a multi-vitamin at the same time?

Yes. The vitamins in Bump Water are all water-soluble, so to the extent that exceeds the recommended daily allowance, they will be passed through you harmlessly. Additionally, it’s a low sugar, all natural, great tasting water.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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