Folic acid and pregnancy
Read all about folic acid during pregnancy here!
Do you have a child wish, or are you already pregnant? Then you’ve probably heard of the vitamin folic acid, which is also known as vitamin B11. Folic acid plays a role in the early development of the unborn child, during conception and pregnancy. Read all about the importance of folic acid in pregnancy here.
When do you start taking folic acid?
The Netherlands Nutrition Center recommends taking folic acid four weeks before fertilization. From that moment on, you are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily until you are ten weeks pregnant, regardless of the amount of folic acid that you get through food. It won’t hurt to continue to swallow folic acid afterward. From this moment on, however, you should get enough folic acid from your diet again — women who want to become pregnant. And women who are already pregnant, have difficulty getting all the folic acid through food is a need for the early development of the unborn child.
Folic acid during pregnancy: why is it important?
From the moment you want to become pregnant, it is essential to take extra folic acid. The body needs about a month to store this and build up a supply. When you are pregnant, folic acid is vital for the early development of the unborn child. Your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop during the first period of your pregnancy. Swallowing folic acid increases the so-called ‘folate status’ of the mother.
The folate status implies the presence of the vitamin folic acid in the body. A low folate status with the mother is a risk for the developing baby. This acid can lead to the development of neural tube defects. The event of neural tube defects can have multiple risk factors. Changing one of those factors may or may not have a beneficial effect. The beneficial effect is obtained with an additional folic acid intake of 400 mcg per day, at least one month before and up to three months after conception. Also, folic acid contributes to tissue growth and formation of the placenta.
How much folic acid do you need from your diet before and during pregnancy?
Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding have different recommended daily amounts of folic acid than women who are not pregnant or who are not breastfeeding. The Health Council has drawn up the following guidelines:
|Category||Recommended daily |
Amount of folic acid (micrograms)
|Women who are breastfeeding||400|
|Four weeks before the possible fertilization||400|
|Pregnant women (up to week 10)||400|
* Note: if you want to become pregnant, it is essential to swallow 400 mcg of extra folic acid in addition to the folic acid that you get from food until you are ten weeks or Approx 2 Months pregnant.
Not everyone is allowed to get pregnant quickly. If it takes months or years before you are pregnant, it is still good to take extra folic acid in addition to your diet during this period. Even if it takes months or years to become pregnant, you can continue to take folic acid without risk, according to the Health Council’s advice.
Read More About Pregnancy Here!
Dr. Nutan (MBBS, DGO) is an Obstetrician, Reproductive Medicine Specialist, and Gynecologist with over 15 years of experience.