Pregnant Moms, Are You Getting Enough Folate?

If you’re expecting, taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin is likely already at the top of your healthy “to do” list. But, did you know that one of the B-vitamins, folate, is especially important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant?

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble B-vitamin required for healthy growth of new cells and for brain and spinal cord development1. In fact, researchers have found that good folate status in pregnant women often leads to improved birth weight and length of gestation2.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re getting enough of this critical nutrient into your system.

Folate vs. Folic Acid: What’s the Difference?

The terms folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably, but there’s actually an important distinction between the two.

Folate is the naturally occurring form of the vitamin B9, while folic acid, on the other hand, is the synthetic form of B9 created to help fortify many packaged foods and some dietary supplements, including many prenatal vitamins.

Health researchers are finding that unlike natural folate—which is metabolized and fully absorbed in the intestine—folic acid doesn’t behave in the same way.

Because your body can’t fully metabolize and absorb synthetics, the leftover folic acid actually sticks around in your body for quite a while.

In fact, the excess is stored in the liver where it can pose some dangerous health risks.

This means that getting as much natural folate as possible in your diet, in addition to a quality prenatal vitamin, is your best bet when it comes to promoting overall health for both you and your child.3

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive and want to increase your folate intake, look for a food-based prenatal vitamin that lists “folate” as the ingredient on the label (our favorite is Kind Organics) and eat healthy foods rich in natural folate including:

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Spinach

A variety of beans (garbanzo, pinto, black, kidney) and some fruits (strawberries, papaya, oranges) are also loaded with the valuable nutrient.

Another exciting source of folate!

We all know that temporary “morning” sickness can hit any time of the day (if not all day), so if folate-rich foods aren’t the least bit appealing, think about including another excellent source of natural folate in your diet: probiotics.

Probiotics are strains of living microorganisms that can optimize digestive health, support immune system function, and promote microflora balance in the body.

But, that’s not all these beneficial bacteria have to offer

Studies show that certain kinds of probiotics, such as those from the Bifidobacterium family and Lactobacillus plantarum, also produce natural B-vitamins, including folate4.

This is exciting news for soon-to-be moms! Taking a probiotic formula with targeted strains can boost your folate levels before and during pregnancy.

The benefits of probiotics don’t stop with folate.

In fact, probiotics are sometimes known as the prenatal vitamin’s best friend because these extraordinary microbes help us absorb all of the nutrition from our foods and vitamins, and they lay the foundation for the healthiest start possible for our children.

You see, before your child is born, they’re nearly sterile in the womb. It isn’t until birth that they inherit everything they need for a healthy start at life—including a powerful, beneficial inoculation of bacteria that comes straight from mom through birth, skin-to-skin contact, and breast milk. It’s actually this good bacteria that colonizes to become the foundation of your child’s immune system, laying the building blocks for a healthy, happy life ahead.

Fortunately, Hyperbiotics developed an effective probiotic formula with expecting moms in mind. PRO-Moms is a formula created specifically for breastfeeding and pregnant women that contains targeted strains proven to produce folate in the intestine and support the foundation of health for your child.

PRO-Moms includes 8 targeted probiotic strains that offer your body (and your baby) a myriad of health benefits. A targeted, effective probiotic can support the health of new moms and their babies by:

  • producing natural folate for healthy fetal development
  • improving your odds of breastfeeding successfully
  • helping you absorb the nutrition from your foods and supplements
  • ensuring a healthy immune system
  • promoting regularity and digestive health

Adding a high-quality probiotic like PRO-Moms to your prenatal and postnatal vitamin regimen will help to ensure that you and your future children are well on the way to vibrant health!

1. Greenberg, J.A., Bell, S.J., Juan, Y, and Yu, Y. (2011). Folic Acid Supplementation and Pregnancy: More Than Just Neural Tube Defect Prevention. Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 4(2), 52-59.
2. O School, T., and Johnson, W.G. (2000). Folic acid: influence on the outcome of pregnancy. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(5), 1295s-1303s.
3. Obeid, R., Kasoha, M., Kirsch, S.H., Munz, W., and Herrmann, W. (2010). Concentrations of unmetabolized folic acid and primary folate forms in pregnant women at delivery and in umbilical cord blood. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92(6), 1416-1422.
4. Sybesma, W., Starrenburg, M., Tijsseling, L., Hoefnagel, M., and Hugenholtz, J. (2003). Effects of Cultivation Conditions on Folate Production by Lactic Acid Bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69(8), 4542-4548


Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

We’re on a mission to help you feel your best. Join us on social media for mindful motivation, feel-good recipes, and healthy living inspiration. #hyperliving 


Posted in Mom + Child, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding