Folic Acid before and during pregnancy: how much to take and what are the benefits

How much folic acid should I take while trying to get pregnant & during pregnancy?

You can call folic acid as the pregnancy super vitamins because of folic acid benefits! Use the prenatal vitamins along with the folic acid, before as well as during the days of pregnancy. It helps in preventing the defects related to the spinal cord and brain in babies and a few more important benefits. It is highly recommended to use them each day before and during pregnancy.

What are Folic Acids?

Folic acids are the artificial form of the Vitamin B which is known as folate. Folate is essential for the formation of the RBCs. It helps the neural tube of your baby to develop in the spinal cord and brain. One of the best dietary sources of the folic acids is the fortified cereals. They are also found in the citrus fruit and green leafy veggies.

When should you start using Folic Acid?

The congenital disabilities can occur during the first 3 to 4 weeks of the pregnancy. Thus, it is significant to have a considerable amount of folate in the body during the early stages of pregnancy.

If you have talked to your physician while you were trying to get conceived, she or he may have told you about the folic acid benefits. Research has shown that those women who take folic acid for one year at least, have reduced chances of premature deliveries. Therefore, if you are planning to get pregnant, it is highly recommended to start taking the folic acid as soon as you know.

The CDC suggests that for baby’s good health, use folic acid each day before getting pregnant for at least a month, and during the pregnancy. If you choose your prenatal vitamin yourself, show it to your doctor while you are pregnant. Make sure that the prenatal vitamin has recommended levels of every ingredient, which you need including folate. Each of the prenatal vitamins doesn’t work same, and few may contain the low amount of essential vitamins or minerals. For more information about what prenatal vitamins should you take during pregnancy and which are the best prenatal vitamins in the market – you can read here.

How much Folic Acid to take before and during pregnancy?

It is recommended for each of the pregnant women to take at least 400 micrograms (mcg), or 0.4 milligrams (mg) of folic acid per day. Those women who take single multivitamin per day, they should check whether it has the required amount of nutrients or not. If because of any reason, you don’t like to take the multivitamins, you can go for the folic acids for pregnancy, meaning taking only the folic acid itself.

Pay attention, if you do take a multivitamin, make sure it doesn’t contain more than the recommended daily allowance of 770 mcg. 

What Are the Benefits of taking Folic Acid?

If you don’t have sufficient folic acid in the body, the neural tube of your baby may not get closed correctly. And there may be neural tube defects during birth, which include:

  1. Spinal Bifida: improper development of the baby’s vertebrae or spinal cord
  2. Anencephaly: inappropriate development of the central section of baby’s brain

If your baby is already suffering from the neural tube problem, consume sufficient folic acid. This can lower the risk of having another child with the same problem. Your doctor probably will recommend you increase the amount of the folic acid to about 4000 mcg (4 mg) per day if you already have a child with neural tube disorder. Go to your doctor and know how much folic acid you must take during pregnancy.

If you consume folic acid for pregnancy, you baby remains protected against:

  • Poor growth
  • Low weight at the time of birth
  • Premature birth
  • Palate and cleft lip
  • Miscarriage

Folic acid can also decrease the risk of having:

  • Heart disease
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease

It is better that you consult your doctor before you can start taking folic acid. Everyone has different requirements. Your doctor will properly examine you to find out the dosage that will be safe for you.


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