Taking Folic Acid Before Pregnancy
One of the most important parts of a healthy pregnancy is to have a healthy diet not only during pregnancy but also before it. It means you need to consume nutrient-dense foods before pregnancy to have a healthy baby. You should know that your body needs to get enough folic acid before pregnancy to help the baby’s growth.
In this article on Hipregnancy, we discuss the importance of taking folic acid before pregnancy and other significant points you need to know about folic acid. Keep reading to the end to be familiar with all the points a pregnant lady should know about this topic.
Why is it important to take folic acid before pregnancy?
If you are planning for your pregnancy, you need to take folic acid. Even those not expecting a baby should get enough folic acid because 40 percent of pregnancies are unplanned.
Taking folic acid before pregnancy and conception puts your body at a better stage for having a baby and helps you give birth to a healthier, smarter child. Here are the top reasons for eating foods containing folic acid or taking folic acid tablets before pregnancy;
- Folic acid, or vitamin B9, helps your body produce red blood cells and assists in the formation of DNA.
- Taking folic acid before pregnancy is vital for creating building blocks for your future baby’s life.
- Enough folic acid before pregnancy can decrease the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). Neural tube defects affect about 300,000 babies yearly, which can be reduced to 30-50 percent by taking folic acid.
- In addition, getting enough folic acid can reduce the risk of congenital heart defects (approximately 11 percent).
- Lastly, folate can control the baby’s weight and reduce the risk of obesity in the developing baby.
Also Read: pre conception diet
When should I start taking folic acid before pregnancy?
As we mentioned above, you need to take folic acid in the form of tablets or foods containing enough amounts of these essential nutrients because it is needed to support the baby’s brain and spine development and prevent the risk of neural tube defects.
The most important and top question arises: “What is the best time for taking folic acid before pregnancy?” or “How long to take pre pregnancy folic acid?”
Generally, the best time for taking folic acid before pregnancy is at least 3 months before becoming pregnant; if you feel any chances of falling pregnant or trying for a baby, you should start taking this vital nutrient. Doctors recommend moms-to-be continue folic acid consumption until week 12 of their pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and did not take pre-pregnancy folic acid, you should consult your doctor. You might need to be checked to prevent pregnancy complications associated with the lack of folic acid.
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How much folic acid before pregnancy should I take?
It is more advisable to ask your doctor or healthcare professional about the amount of folic acid you need before pregnancy, based on your body’s needs and circumstances. But according to research, the recommended dose of folic acid is 400 micrograms of supplement per day.
Although the recommended dose of folic acid consumption is 400 mcg, some people require a higher dose of folic acid, about 5 mg, because they are at a higher risk of developing a baby with neural tube defects. The following reasons make your body get a higher dose of folic acid before pregnancy;
- Having a neural tube defect
- Having diabetes
- Experiencing neural tube defects in a previous pregnancy
- Being heavy drinker
- Having epilepsy
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How can I get enough folic acid before pregnancy?
Consuming folic acid-rich foods can help you meet your body’s needs, but only consuming these types of food is not enough. You should have folic acid tablets before pregnancy or branded pre-pregnancy vitamins. If you want to take supplements, keep in mind that limit supplements containing vitamin A is better because it can lead to developmental problems, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Add brussels sprout, peas, fortified breakfast cereal, lentils, chickpeas, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, nuts, citrus juice, and green leafy vegetables to your diet before pregnancy to receive folic acid.
Although the above foods are rich in folic acid, most doctors recommend that ladies take folic acid supplements to ensure they get enough of this vitamin needed for a better pregnancy. In other words, taking folic acid before conception prepares your body for carrying a baby and giving birth to a healthier baby.
Do I need to take any other vitamins alongside folic acid tablets before pregnancy?
Taking folic acid before pregnancy is essential, but is there any vitamin needed alongside folic acid?
Pregnant ladies taking vitamin B12 alongside folic acid prepares their body for 37 weeks of pregnancy. Vitamin B12 works very closely with vitamin B6 or folic acid and helps prevent neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida.
According to studies, ladies should take at least 2.5 µg of B12 with their main meal, alongside the recommended amount of folic acid, about 400 micrograms. Animal and dairy products are good sources of this type of vitamin to use before pregnancy. Still, vegetarians can take vitamin B12 supplements instead of eating these kinds of food.
Folic acid is one of the key nutrients that should be taken even before pregnancy due to its high effect on the baby’s health. Taking folic acid before pregnancy has several benefits in the baby’s development and preventing neural birth defects.
Best folic acid before pregnancy
It is always best to check with your doctor before taking folic acid before pregnancy to ensure that the product suits you. Here is a list of the best folic acid supplements to take before pregnancy, including;
- Nutricost Folic Acid Supplement: This product is a high- grade folic acid, includes vitamin B12 and biotin, is safe for vegetarians, and doesn’t contain GMOs and gluten.
- Nature’s Bounty Folic Acid Supplement: This supplement supports heart health and good metabolism. It is ideal for everyday nutritional needs.
- 21st Century Folic Acid Supplement: It is an easy-to-swallow product and includes calcium alongside folic acid. This product is good for strengthening bones and supporting cardiovascular health.
- Nature Made folic Acid Supplement: This product contains sodium, calcium, and magnesium alongside folic acid. Its formula is free of gluten, starch, artificial flavorings, and preservatives.
Taking about 400 micrograms of folic acid daily at least 3 months before pregnancy is recommended, through tablets or natural sources, like spinach, lentils, nuts, etc. Add this key nutrient to your daily diet to provide a better situation for your future child. If you have any experiences with taking folic acid before pregnancy, share them with us via comment.
1. Can I take folic acid before pregnancy?
Although taking folic acid before pregnancy is safe, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider to know how much folic acid you should take to meet your needs.
2. How to take folic acid before pregnancy?
Ladies should consume folic acid foods before pregnancy, such as broccoli, peas, citrus juice, fortified breakfast cereals, leafy green vegetables, and peanuts to prepare for getting pregnant. Moreover, they can take folic acid tablets before pregnancy to meet their needs; however, they should consult a doctor beforehand.