Do I need folic acid before I get pregnant?


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It is recommended that 30 before you get pregnant, you should take 1400mcg folic acid tablet, as well as throughout the pregnancy period, as prescribed by the gynaecologist. If functions to prevent foetal malformations and it reduces the risk of preeclampsia or premature delivery.

Although it is recommended to be taken 30 days before becoming pregnant, the Ministry of Health indicates that all women who are of the childbearing age should have folic acid supplementation. This prevents complications that may arise in case of an unplanned pregnancy.

Folic acid is a type of vitamin B, which when taken in the appropriate doses, it prevents various health problems such as heart disease, anaemia Alzheimer’s disease or infarction, and malformations of the uterus.

Folic acid can be taken daily in form of tablets but also by taking foods such as vegetables, fruits and cereals such as spinach, broccoli and lentils.

Does taking folic acid help you get pregnant?

Taking folic acid will not make you pregnant but it will lower the risks of the baby developing malformations of the spinal cord and brain such as spina, bifida or anencephaly, as well as prevent other problems related to pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and premature delivery.

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Doctors usually recommend that the folic acid should be taken before getting pregnant becuase most woemn lack this vitamin, and for this reason supplementation is required before conception. The food taken is usually not enough to supply folic acid that is needed during pregnancy. A pregnant woman should therefore take multivitamin supplements such as DTN-Fol or Femme Folic, which contain at least 400 mcg of folic acid per day.

Recommended doses of folic acid

The recommended doses of folic acid vary according to age and the period of life, as shown in the table:

AgeRecommended daily doseMaximum recommended dose (per day)
0 to 6 months65 mcg100 mcg
7 to 12 months80 mcg100 mcg
1 to 3 years150 mcg300 mcg
4 to 8 years200 mcg400 mcg
9 to 13 years300 mcg600 mcg
14 to 18 years old400 mcg800 mcg
More than 19 years400 mcg1000 mcg
Pregnant women400 mcg1000 mcg

If the recommended daily dose of folic acid is exceeded, some symptoms may be experienced such as nausea, bloating, excess gas and insomnia. It is therefore advisable to consult with the doctor who will measure the folic acid levels by performing specific blood tests.

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Some women may lack folic acid even when they eat foods rich in this vitamin because they suffer from malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome, irritable colon, anorexia or prolonged diarrhoea. This will result to symptoms such as excessive tiredness, headaches, loss of appetite and heart palpitations.

Apart from maintaining the health of the foetus, folic acid prevents conditions such as anaemia, cancer and depression. It should therefore be used properly during pregnancy periods.

How long before you become pregnant should you take folic acid?

Before becoming pregnant, a woman should take folic acid supllemetaion a month before. This will prevent any abnormal changes that may arise in the formation of the baby’s brain and spinal cord, which begins in the first 3 weeks of pregnancy. This is usually the period when the woman discovers that she is pregnant. Therefore, as a woman, when you plan to get pregnant, it is ideal that you also start the supplementation.

The Ministry of Health recommends that all women who are between the child bearing age, 14 and 35 years should take folic acid supplements so as to avoid any complications in case of an unplanned pregnancy.

How long should folic acid be taken in pregnancy?

Folic acid supplementation should be taken throughout pregnancy until the 3rd trimester or according to the prescriptions of the obstetrician who will be monitoring the pregnancy. It will help in preventing anaemia during pregnancy, which may also interfere with the baby’s development.

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Cornelius A.

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