Benefits of taking folic acid before pregnancy

Benefits of taking folic acid before pregnancy

Benefits of taking folic acid before pregnancy

Taking folic acid when planning a pregnancy will help your baby’s healthy growth and development.

Folic acid is a vitamin (B9). It is found in certain foods and it can also be taken as tablets.If you’re planning to want have a baby, it’s important that you take folic acid tablets for two to three months before you conceive. This allows it to build up in your body to the point where it protects your future baby from neural tube defects like spina bifida.

As you could get pregnant within a month of trying, it's best to start taking folic acid tablets two months before you stop using contraception. If you've already stopped using contraception, that's okay; just start using it now and continue until the 12th week of pregnancy.

You can also try to eat foods that contain folate, which is the natural form of folic acid. However, even a healthy and balanced diet does not have enough folic acid for pregnancy so taking folic acid supplement is very important.

If you end up taking folic acid tablets for far longer than two to three months this is absolutely fine and not harmful

Why should I take folic acid?

If you have the right amount of folic acid in your body before being pregnant, it reduces the risk of the baby developing neural tube abnormalities by up to 70%. Neural tube defects are problems with the brain or spinal cord, or spina bifida.

Spina bifida is not common but it can cause a wide range of issues for the baby, including:

  • problems with movement
  • bladder and bowel problems
  • learning difficulties.