You’ve seen the words repeated in articles and said multiple times in your OB or Midwife’s office – folic acid, folate, folic acid, folate. These words are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. So, what is the difference between the two and what’s the craziest hidden benefit of folate vs folic acid for mom and baby?
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What is folic acid and folate?
Folate and folic acid are names for vitamin B9, an essential vitamin our bodies need for healthy cell and DNA growth. When we consume vitamin B9, our bodies need to convert it into the active form of B9 called levomefolic acid as it enters our bloodstream. While both names refer to the same vitamin, there is a key difference.
Folate is a naturally occurring form of B9, while folic acid is a synthetic form.
So, which is better?
Because folate is natural, our bodies convert most of it into that active form in our bloodstream. We need to get the true benefit of the vitamin. However, the body cannot break down and convert most of the folic acid in the bloodstream. So, it stays there for longer until it can get processed in the liver. This results in a possible build up of folic acid in the body, which can cause health issues like increasing the risk of cancer.
I wonder why they even sell it, especially to pregnant women.
The benefit of folate far exceeds that of folic acid.
Why do I need folate during pregnancy?
Pregnant people need folate especially to prevent birth abnormalities like neural tube defects, which have been linked to low levels of vitamin B9.
You can get folate through a supplement and by eating dark, leafy greens like spinach and brussel sprouts.
I’m a postpartum doula on Long Island. The first response I get when I tell someone this is, “What is a postpartum doula? What do you do?” The answer is quite simple and the service is a life-saver for many.
Mothering The Mother
My job is to help Long Island postpartum moms who have recently birthed or adopted a baby. I help them cope, adjust, heal, and feel confident in their parenting. How do I do this? Well, I provide a myriad of services that combine into a practice of care and support.
The first tenant of being a postpartum doula is to “Mother the Mother.” Us doulas believe that every mama deserves to be nurtured with compassion; so, our role is to give motherly love and support. We don’t replace any client’s mom or other family member. In fact, we often work hand-in-hand with our clients’ family members to give as much help as possible.
What Services Postpartum Doulas Provide
The types of services a postpartum doula does will depend on the doula. I provide full spectrum care to moms, which includes the following:
1. Emotional and physical support for mom
2. Postpartum care – help with healing and perineum care, c-section support, rest, and sleep
3. Infant care – educate the whole family on baby care best practices, help with bathing, sleep, feeding, and more
4. Feeding education – breast and formula
5. Nutrition – guidance for healing and lactation, meal and snack preparation
6. Household chores – light tasks such as washing dishes, doing laundry for the whole family, kitchen cleanup, and organizing the baby’s room
7. Family support – help partners and older children adjust to new family dynamic
8. Mental health – I’m trained to educate and identify perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety
9. Overnight care – I’ll take care of your baby’s needs throughout the night including diaper changes, bringing baby to you for breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and comforting baby so you can get a good night’s sleep
I do all this and even more!
What Postpartum Doulas Don’t Do
Postpartum doulas are not medical health providers. While we can provide evidence-based information on care, we aren’t doctors and cannot answer medical questions. When appropriate, we will refer clients to their pediatricians.
Sometimes people assume we are just like babysitters. However, our job is to put the mom first, not baby. Postpartum doulas will often watch over the baby so that mom can get some rest. But, we don’t completely take over care for extended periods of time unless we are providing overnight care. More importantly we are highly trained professionals that receive certification credentials.
We also typically do not do heavy cleaning like vacuuming, washing the floors, cleaning the bathroom, etc.
Are you a Long Island mom looking for support? Contact me or learn more about postpartum care here.