How Early Should I Start Folic Acid?

Kimberly A. Tessmer's picture

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
Is it safe to get pregnant after only taking folic acid for 1 month?

We have decided that we would like to start trying to get pregnant next month, but I have only just started taking the vitamin. Should we wait?

Lori G

ANSWER

Lori,
Although adequate folic acid intake is very important at least one month before conception it also depends on what your dietary intake and health status has been in the recent past.

My suggestion, which is a smart idea for any women who is considering having a baby, would be to make an appointment with your OB/GYN before you begin trying. Your doctor can thoroughly assess your nutritional as well as health status and get you started on a prenatal plan that includes prenatal vitamins.

All women should get at least 400 mcg of folic acid throughout childbearing age. During pregnancy, women should increase the amount of folic acid to 400 to 800 micrograms (0.4 to 0.8 milligrams) daily according to their doctor's recommendations.

Thank you and good luck!
-- Kimberly, RD LD