How Early Should I Start Folic Acid?


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


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

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus", in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and, Inc as well as continuing education courses for She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.