Folic Acid for Pregnancy: What Are Its Benefits?

    Folic Acid for Pregnancy: What Are Its Benefits?
    Updated 14 April 2020 |
    Published 29 August 2018
    Fact Checked
    Kate Shkodzik, MD
    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist
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    Folic acid or vitamin B9 is recommended as a biologically active additive for all women at the pregnancy planning stage as well as during the first 2–3 months of pregnancy. Let’s find out why it’s so important to take it before and during this important time of your life.

    What does folic acid do?

    Ideally, pregnancy planning and preparation should be taken three months prior to conception, but it's permissible to start taking folic acid after you learn about the pregnancy. It's a water-soluble vitamin, and an overdose is practically impossible.

    Folic acid is involved in DNA and RNA (custodians of genetic material) synthesis, which is especially important during fetal development. A folic acid deficiency can lead to defects in the neural tube (from which the brain and the spinal cord is formed) and other congenital malformations.

    The recommended dose of folic acid before pregnancy is 0.4 mg per day.

    Flo users share their stories: folic acid and tips from Flo helped me get pregnant

    My husband and I decided that we would start our family this year, so I got off the contraceptive. I began to exercise and checked in with my gynecologist. This is key, more so for late starters like me. I also went on folic acid tabs upon the recommendation of my doctor. I downloaded the Flo app and began to further educate myself on ovulation, knowing my most likely days of conception and planning around those days. Flo has been very useful in this regard. I'm now 16 weeks pregnant and loving every moment of it.

    History of updates
    Current version (14 April 2020)
    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist
    Published (29 August 2018)
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