What is Folic Acid and When Do I Take it?

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Folic acid is really important for the development of a baby as it can reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

It is recommended that all women while trying to get pregnant and up to a year before conception, take 400 micrograms of folic acid while they're trying to get pregnant and during the first trimester when the baby's spine is developing. 

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If you haven't taken folic acid before getting pregnant start taking it as soon as you know you are pregnant.

Although folic acid is found in granary bread, breakfast cereals, green vegetables and brown rice they are not enough on their own. The only way to make sure you're getting enough folic acid is by taking a folic acid supplement.

Higher doses of folic acid are needed if;

  • You or your partner have a neural tube defect or a family history of neural tube defects
  • You previously had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
  • You have diabetes

If any of the above apply to you, your GP will prescribe a higher dose of folic acid. Your midwife or GP may also recommend additionally screening test during pregnancy. 

You can also pick up some Folic Acid from high street pharmacies such as Boots (affiliate link).

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