How Much Folic Acid Should I Take During Pregnancy

Jill D. Stovsky, M. Ed. , R. D. , L. D. , a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, registered dietitian, and exercise physiologist Advertisement.

If you have dark skin or cover your skin a lot

You may be especially vulnerable to having insufficient vitamin D if you:

  • you have dark skin (for example, if youre of African, African Caribbean or south Asian origin)
  • you cover your skin when outside or spend lots of time indoors
  • You might want to think about taking a vitamin D supplement every day all year. Talk to a midwife or doctor for advice.

    If you don’t get enough iron, you’ll probably feel extremely fatigued and could develop anemia.

    Iron is found in lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts.

    Unless you are allergic to them or a health professional advises you not to, you can consume peanuts or foods containing them (like peanut butter) while pregnant as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

    Many breakfast cereals have iron added to them. A doctor or midwife will advise you to take iron supplements if the level of iron in your blood drops.

    Vitamin C protects cells and helps keep them healthy.

    A balanced diet can give you all the vitamin C you need because it can be found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

    Good sources include:

  • oranges and orange juice
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • potatoes
  • Calcium is vital for making your babys bones and teeth.

    Sources of calcium include:

  • milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • green leafy vegetables, such as rocket, watercress or curly kale
  • tofu
  • soya drinks with added calcium
  • bread and any foods made with fortified flour
  • fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards
  • According to research, taking folic acid before becoming pregnant may help prevent serious neural tube defects like spina bifida, encephalocele, and anencephaly.

    A supplement is necessary because there is no assurance that you will consume enough folic acid from food alone.

    You may require higher folic acid dosages in the months preceding and during the first few months of pregnancy if you have already given birth to a child with a neural tube defect. Your doctor can advise you on the right dose.

    According to a 2015 review of studies, maternal folic acid supplementation significantly decreases the risk of congenital heart defects. These defects occur in 8 out of every 1,000 births in the United States.

    Inadequate fusion of the mouth and lip during the first 6 to 10 weeks of pregnancy results in these birth defects. The condition typically requires one or more surgeries to be corrected.

    Pregnant women advised to continue taking folic acid supplements

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