Why take folic acid before pregnancy

It is recommended to take 1 folic acid tablet daily, at least 3 months before becoming pregnant and during the first 3 months of pregnancy, this may help prevent genetic alterations at the level of neural tissue in the baby and decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia or premature delivery.
Folic acid can be ingested daily in the form of tablets, but also through the intake of vegetables, fruits and cereals such as spinach, broccoli, lentils or cereals.

Does taking folic acid help me get pregnant?

No. Taking folic acid lowers the risk of malformations in the spinal cord and in the baby's brain such as spina bifida or anencephaly, as well as problems during pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia and premature delivery.
Doctors recommend starting to take folic acid before getting pregnant because many women have a deficiency of this vitamin, being necessary to start supplementation before conception. This occurs because normally, food is not enough to offer the necessary amounts of folic acid in pregnancy, and daily intake of multivitamins containing between 400 to 600 mcg of folic acid is recommended.
Some examples are Folivital, AF Valdecasas, Bellafem maternal, Calcibon natal, Materfol, it should be noted that some of them contain folic acid and calcium together, since the latter is also an important mineral during pregnancy to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and for promote bone and muscle development of the fetus.

Recommended dosage of folic acid

The recommended doses of folic acid vary according to age and life span, as shown in the table below:
Recommended daily dose
Maximum recommended dose (per day)
14 to 18 years
400 mcg
800 mcg
More than 19 years
400 mcg
1000 mcg
Pregnant women
600 mcg
1000 mcg
Lactating women
500 mcg
1000 mcg
When the recommended daily doses of folic acid are exceeded, some symptoms such as constant nausea, abdominal bloating, excess gas or insomnia may arise, so it is recommended to consult a general doctor to measure the levels of folic acid, through a specific blood test.
In addition to this, some women can present folic acid deficiency even eating foods rich in this substance, especially if they suffer from malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome, irritable colon, anorexia or prolonged diarrhea, presenting symptoms such as excessive tiredness, headaches, loss of appetite or heart palpitations.
In addition to preserving the health of the fetus, folic acid prevents problems such as anemia, cancer and depression, and can be used without problems even outside of pregnancy.

How long before you get pregnant should you take folic acid?

Folic acid supplementation should be started at least 1 month before becoming pregnant, however ideally it should be done 3 months earlier because the baby's brain and spinal cord formation is during the first 3 weeks of pregnancy, which is usually before the woman knows she is pregnant.
So it is recommended that all women of childbearing age between 14 and 35 years take folic acid supplements to avoid problems in an unplanned pregnancy.

How long should folic acid be taken in pregnancy?

Folic acid supplementation should be maintained until the beginning of the 3rd trimester of pregnancy or as indicated by the obstetrician in charge of prenatal control.

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