Folic acid quantity before pregnancy

Print our handy chart that shows which foods and drinks are risky during pregnancy and how to safely avoid the risks.
Help meet your need for essential pregnancy nutrients with our top 10 list of snacks for moms-to-be. Neural tube defects occur at a very early stage of development, before many women even know they're pregnant.
Find out why good nutrition is extra important if you're pregnant and have gestational diabetes. Folic acid is also essential for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA, our genetic map and a basic building block of cells.
When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects, including:Spina bifida (SPEYE-nuh BIF-ih-duh), which occurs when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not close to protect the spinal cord.
Again, check the label.Don't take more than 1,000 mcg per day of folic acid unless your healthcare provider advises you to.
Vegans are at risk of being deficient in vitamin B12 and taking too much folic acid would make it hard to diagnose that deficiency. When you might need extra folic acidWomen who are obese appear to be more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect, although the reason for this is still unclear. If you're significantly overweight, see your healthcare provider before you try to conceive.

She may advise you to take more than 400 mcg of folic acid a day.If you've previously been pregnant with a baby with a neural tube defect, be sure your current providers are aware of this and schedule a visit before you try to get pregnant. With no intervention, women in this situation have a 2 to 5 percent chance of having another pregnancy complicated by an NTD.The good news is that this risk can be reduced significantly by taking a very large dose of folic acid. Talk with your doctor about how much folic acid you need if:You are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about how much folic acid you should take if you're in this situation.Women who are diabetic or are taking certain antiseizure medications are also more likely to have a baby with an NTD. Pregnant women need 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid in the very early stages of pregnancy often before they know that they are pregnant. If either of these situations applies to you, see your provider at least a month before trying to conceive to find out how much folic acid you should be taking and to monitor your condition in general. Some doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins that contain higher amounts of folic acid.You are breastfeeding. Some doctors suggest that breastfeeding women keep taking their prenatal vitamins to be sure they are getting plenty of folic acid while they are breastfeeding and should they become pregnant again.You had a baby with a birth defect of the brain or spine and want to get pregnant again. Taking this high dose of folic acid can lower the risk of having another baby with these birth defects.You have a family member with spina bifida.
Birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the very early stages of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

By the time she finds out she is pregnant, it might be too late to prevent those birth defects. If you have a hard time swallowing pills, you might try a chewable or liquid product that has folic acid. Please note, if you already are taking a daily prenatal vitamin, you probably are getting all the folic acid you need.
We cannot be sure that eating foods that contain folate would have the same benefits as consuming folic acid. In the United States, most women who eat foods enriched with folic acid are still not getting all that they need. But unless your doctor tells you otherwise, do not consume more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid a day. Consuming too much folic acid can hide signs that a person is lacking vitamin B12, which can cause nerve damage.

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