Folic Acid Supplement in Pregnancy

 Folic acid for Pregnancy

Why nutrition during pregnancy is important?

Nutrition during pregnancy is important for healthy growth of the fetus and maternal health.This is ultimately important for a safe delivery.Food during pregnancy should contain vitamins and minerals including folic acid and calcium. Total energy requirement also increases in pregnancy.If extra amount of calories with vitamins and minerals are not provided in a balanced ratio then mother and baby health may be affected in a serious manner.

How nutrition in pregnancy is different from non-pregnant state?

Nutrition during pregnancy is different from the non-pregnant state.There are increased energy requirements and specific micronutrient requirements.

There is need for balance between energy and protein intake during pregnancy.

Supplements like – iron, calcium and vitamins are given during pregnancy.

What is the importance of folic acid supplement in pregnancy?

Folic acid is a vitamin which has important functions in the body.

  • Synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA
  • Helps rapid cell division and growth

Adequate periconceptional (time before and right after conception) folic acid intake has been shown to decrease the risk of fetal neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

What is folic acid?

It is a vitamin also called folate or Vitamin B9. It is crucial in cell division and growth.

When the pregnant woman  should take folic acid?

  • Women planning to get pregnant should take folic acid supplements for a full year before conception to reduce the risk of these developments.
  • Folic acid is thought to play a preventive role in a range of conditions including spina bifida.

What are the foods that contain folic acid?

Folate is abundant in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and citrus.


  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • egg yolk
  • Lentils
  • lettuce
  • citrus fruits like Oranges,  papaya and kiwi
  • Milk
  • Peas
  • spinach

It is always better to get nutrients from natural food sources than supplements. In pregnancy it is better to get the supplement because you may not be sure of the getting regular natural foods with correct amount of folic acid.

If you are planning for pregnancy then you should start taking folic acid. Why to take folic acid before pregnancy?

  • Folic acid given before and right after conception has been shown to decrease the risk of fetal neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.   
  • The neural tube develops during the first 28 days of pregnancy, a urine pregnancy test is not usually positive until 14 days post-conception, explaining the necessity to guarantee adequate folate intake before conception.
Folic acid in Pregnancy
Folic acid in Pregnancy

What are the health issues develops in patients with folic acid deficiency?

  • Anemia
  • Congenital deformities in fetus -neural tube defect
  • Clinical depression
  • Memory and brain function
  • Allergic diseases
  • Long-term risk of lower bone density

How much folic acid is required by the body during pregnancy?

Woman planning to get  pregnant should take daily folic acid supplements. Women over the age of 14 years should take –

  • 400 micrograms (mcg) per day,
  • increase to 600 mcg during a pregnancy.
  • 500 mcg while they are lactating.

What is the Take Home message for Folic Acid in Pregnancy?

It is recommended that pregnant women get 600-800 mcg of folic acid per day from their diet or supplements starting when you plan for pregnancy at least one month before pregnancy and during pregnancy.