How Much Folic Acid is for My First Trimester?

Last updated on Mar 09, 2013

by Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD

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How Much Folic Acid is for My First Trimester?

It is highly recommended that you take folic acid supplements even before your pregnancy and through your first trimester, as it is important in preventing various neural tube defects.

Pregnancy brings with it numerous responsibilities and the need for you to eat well so that your baby develops healthily. If you are anticipating pregnancy or if you are already pregnant, you should make sure you have enough folic acid intake per day. It is highly recommended that you take folic acid supplements even before your pregnancy and through your first trimester. Folic acid is very important and making sure you have enough before and during early pregnancy, you can avoid nasty birth defects in your baby. You should know why folic acid is important and how much you should take so as to eliminate the risk of any problems that may befall your child. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

The Importance of Folic Acid

You may have heard that folic acid reduces risks of neural tube defects. This is absolutely true. Neural tube is the point where your spine and your brain begin. One neural tube defect is called spina bifida, which folic acid can prevent. Another defect is the condition in which a few parts of the brain and skull are absent all together. Just by reading this, you will realize how important folic acid is for the development of your baby. It is important that you take folic acid during the first trimester because this is when the neural tube is formed. The formation starts in the third week of pregnancy and will continue throughout your first trimester. Along with avoiding neural tube defects, folic acid has been known to reduce risks of anemia, preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy, and other defects such as heart defects, palate defects, and cleft lip.

How Much Folic Acid Do I Need During my First Trimester?

If you are planning pregnancy, you should start taking folic acid for a month before you conceive. You will need 400 mcg each day. You can either choose folate containing foods and include them in your diet or you can go for folic acid supplements. When you become pregnant you will need a higher dose, about 600 mcg each day. Your doctor may also recommend you to take more depending on your medical history and your requirements. Some women might even need 100 mcg per day. Most prenatal vitamins contain 100 mcg of folic acid.

Why do Some Women Need More Folic Acid than the Others?

1000 mcg is the highest you should take unless your doctor asks you to take even more amounts of folic acid. Generally your doctor will ask you to take more amounts of folic acid if she detects that the risks of neural tube defects in your baby are high. Women who are obese, are diabetic, or have already had a child with neural tube defects will be recommended to take more folic acid, up to about 4 times the usual required amount. Talk to your doctor to know the ideal dose for you.

Which Foods Contain Folic Acid?

In order to have enough folic acid, know that you should take foods in their raw form if possible because cooking will destroy the folate. Broccoli, avocados, orange juice, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, spinach, lettuce, lima beans, and oatmeal are a few good sources of folic acid.

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How Much Folic Acid is for My First Trimester?, 4.8 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.

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