Are you Trying to Conceive?
When you’re trying to conceive, you should be eating a balanced diet with all the vitamins and minerals that you need for overall health. This is hard to do, however, especially if your work or family life makes it hard for you to eat well. As a result, you are going to need to take a prenatal multivitamin to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need. To boost your chance of conception, make sure that you choose a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
The Importance of Folic Acid When Trying to Conceive
Folic acid (also called folate) is a B-vitamin that helps your body produce healthy new cells. Both men and women need folic acid, but when you’re trying to conceive, it’s more important than ever that you get enough of this B-vitamin into your diet. Folic acid prevents major birth defects that occur in the first trimester, including spina bifida and anencephaly.
Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the unborn baby’s spinal column doesn’t close completely. This is a lifelong disability, and the child may require many surgeries and physical therapy to cope. Because the spina bifida occurs in the first month of pregnancy ““ before many women even realize they’re pregnant ““ you can protect against this birth defect by taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. Research has shown that women who take folic acid at least one month before pregnancy, and throughout their first trimester can lower their baby’s risk of spina bifida by 75 percent.
Anencephaly is another disastrous consequence of not getting enough folic acid into your diet. This condition occurs when most or all of the child’s brain doesn’t develop. Infants with this condition will pass away in the womb, or shortly after they are born.
How Much Folic Acid when Trying to Conceive
When you’re trying to conceive, you need to find a prenatal multivitamin that contains between 400 and 800 micrograms (or 0.4 to .08 milligrams) of folic acid. If your prenatal vitamin doesn’t contain enough folic acid, take an additional supplement. Since folic acid is a water soluble B-vitamin, you don’t have to worry about taking too much. Your body will flush out what you don’t need.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, taking too much folic acid can hide a B-12 deficiency, so you should talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you’re worried.