It is recommended to take 1 400 mcg folic acid tablet at least 30 days before becoming pregnant and throughout pregnancy, or as advised by the gynecologist, in order to prevent fetal malformations and reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia or premature birth.
Although it is mainly recommended 30 days before becoming pregnant, the Ministry of Health recommends that all women of childbearing age supplement with folic acid, so that it is possible to prevent complications in the case of an unplanned pregnancy.
Folic acid is a type of vitamin B, which when ingested in adequate doses, helps to prevent some health problems such as heart disease, anemia, Alzheimer's disease or infarction, as well as malformations in the fetus.
Folic acid can be taken daily in tablet form, but also by eating vegetables, fruits and cereals, such as spinach, broccoli, lentils or cereals, for example. See other foods rich in folic acid.
Does taking folic acid help you get pregnant?
Taking folic acid does not help to get pregnant, however, it decreases the risk of malformations in the baby's spinal cord and brain, such as spina bifida or anencephaly, as well as problems in pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia and premature birth.
Doctors recommend starting to take folic acid before becoming pregnant because many women lack this vitamin, and it is necessary to start supplementation before conception. This is because, normally, food is not enough to offer the necessary amounts of folic acid in pregnancy and, therefore, the pregnant woman should take multivitamin supplements, such as DTN-Fol or Femme Fólico, which contain at least 400 mcg of acid folic a day.
Recommended doses of folic acid
Recommended doses of folic acid vary according to age and life span, as shown in the table:
|Age||Recommended daily dose||Maximum recommended dose (per day)|
|0 to 6 months||65 mcg||100 mcg|
|7 to 12 months||80 mcg||100 mcg|
|1 to 3 years||150 mcg||300 mcg|
|4 to 8 years||200 mcg||400 mcg|
|9 to 13 years||300 mcg||600 mcg|
|14 to 18 years||400 mcg||800 mcg|
|Over 19 years||400 mcg||1000 mcg|
|Pregnant women||400 mcg||1000 mcg|
When the recommended daily doses of folic acid are exceeded, some symptoms may appear, such as constant nausea, abdominal bloating, excessive gas or insomnia, so it is recommended to consult a general practitioner to measure the levels of folic acid through a blood test. specific.
In addition, some women may experience folic acid deficiency even if they eat foods rich in this substance, especially if they suffer from malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome, irritable bowel, anorexia or prolonged diarrhea, showing symptoms such as excessive tiredness, headaches, loss of appetite or heart palpitations.
In addition to maintaining the health of the fetus, folic acid prevents problems such as anemia, cancer and depression, and can be used properly, even during pregnancy. See all the health benefits of folic acid.
How long before you get pregnant should you take folic acid?
It is recommended that the woman initiate folic acid supplementation at least 1 month before becoming pregnant to prevent changes related to the formation of the baby's brain and spinal cord, which begins in the first 3 weeks of pregnancy, which is usually the period woman finds out she is pregnant. Thus, when the woman starts planning the pregnancy it is recommended that she start supplementation.
Thus, the Ministry of Health recommends that all women of childbearing age, between 14 and 35 years old, take folic acid supplements to avoid possible problems in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, for example.
How long should folic acid be taken during pregnancy?
Folic acid supplementation should be maintained during pregnancy until the 3rd trimester, or according to the indication of the obstetrician who is following the pregnancy, as it is thus possible to prevent anemia during pregnancy, which could also interfere with the baby's development .