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Pregnancy and Folic Acid: What You need To Know

by Family Center

Pregnancy and Folic Acid: What You need To Know
Upon visiting the hospital, you would be told to take 1 tablet of folic acid daily, at least 3 months prior to pregnancy and during the first 3 months of pregnancy, to prevent severe genetic changes in the baby and decrease the risk of preeclampsia or premature delivery.

Folic acid is a type of vitamin B, which when taken in adequate doses helps prevent some health problems such as heart disease, anemia, Alzheimer’s disease or infarction, as well as malformations in the fetus when ingested before and during pregnancy.

Folic acid can be taken daily in the form of tablets, but also through the ingestion of vegetables, fruits and cereals, such as spinach, broccoli, lentils or cereals.

Taking Folic Acid Helps You Get Pregnant?
Taking folic acid does not help you get pregnant, however, it reduces the risk of malformations in the spinal cord and baby’s brain, such as spina bifida or anencephaly, as well as problems in pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia and preterm delivery.

Doctors recommend starting folic acid before getting pregnant because many women are deficient in this vitamin and it is necessary to start supplementation before conception.

This is because normally foods are not sufficient to provide the required amounts of folic acid in pregnancy and therefore the pregnant woman should take multivitamins such as DTN-Fol or Femme Folic which contain at least 400-600 mcg of folic acid per day.

How long before getting pregnant should folic acid be taken?
The pregnant woman should start taking folic acid supplementation for at least 1 month before becoming pregnant because the formation of the baby’s spinal cord and brain begins within the first 3 weeks of gestation, when usually before the woman knows she is pregnant.

Thus, the Ministry of Health recommends that all women of childbearing age, between the ages of 14 and 35, take folic acid supplements to avoid problems in an unplanned pregnancy.

When to take folic acid in pregnancy?
Folic acid supplementation should be maintained during pregnancy until the 3rd trimester, or as indicated by the obstetrician following gestation.

When recommended daily doses of folic acid are exceeded, some symptoms such as constant nausea, abdominal swelling, excessive gas or insomnia may arise and it is therefore recommended to consult a general practitioner to measure folic acid levels through a blood test specific.

In addition, some individuals may also be deficient in folic acid even if they eat foods rich in folic acid, especially if they suffer from malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome, irritable bowel, anorexia or prolonged diarrhea, with symptoms such as excessive tiredness, headaches, appetite or heart palpitations.

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