Folic Acid to Get Pregnant
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Folic Acid to Get Pregnant    

There are a lot of exhilarating moments that will happen in the journey of a woman trying to get pregnant to the birth of her baby. From discovering the gender, feeling the baby’s heartbeats, feeling the baby’s kicks, building and setting up the nursery, to finally birthing the eagerly awaited new addition to the family. It is important to focus on keeping the body in the best condition possible, staying strong and healthy which is optimum for the growth and development of a baby, especially for a woman that is trying to get pregnant. Taking folic acid is an act that has been known to enhance the chances of a woman getting pregnant. 

In addition to this, it helps in reducing the risk of severe birth defects that can occur in the first month of pregnancy. It also prevents serious pregnancy complications. This is why taking folic acid supplements has been recommended not only when trying to get pregnant but also during the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.

What are the benefits of taking folic acid?

benefits of Folic Acid
Picture courtesy: Jammi Scans

Folic acid is a B vitamin that naturally occurs in both males and females to help in generating new cells. It is a key component in all prenatal vitamins due to its benefits to fertility and pregnancy. Some of the benefits of taking folic acid include:

  • It is important for making the new cells that comprise the skin, nails and hair
  • It is crucial for babies as they develop and grow.
  • It aids in the baby’s nervous system development.
  • It helps in the cellular growth of the baby
  • It reduces the risk of neural tube defects which can occur in the brain and/or the spine
  • It reduces the risk of the development of cleft palate

When is the right time to begin taking folic acid? 

It is crucial to begin the ingestion of supplementary folic acid for up to three months before conception happens. This allows the vitamin to build up in the body to a level that gives the most protection to the future baby against birth defects like spina bifida or neural tube defects. Since pregnancy can occur even on the month that the efforts started, it is ideal to start taking folic acid up to three months before the removal of the contraceptives. If the contraception has stopped already, it is still okay to commence the taking of the folic acid supplements immediately. 

For women who are anaemic, their doctor or midwife may seriously recommend that they keep taking folic acid throughout their pregnancy. It is also not harmful to be taking folic acid for longer than three months in the case that it is taking longer than expected to get pregnant. It has been recommended that women take up to 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.

How long will it take to get pregnant after taking folic acid?

Every individual is different when it comes to their fertility and their chances of conceiving. When they are taken as part of a multivitamin, folic acid has been associated with an increase in the likelihood of facilitating easier conception. There are other essential nutrients and vitamins that a woman should take when planning on getting pregnant. More than 12% of women between the ages of 15 and 54 experience issues with fertility. Taking high levels of folic acid can potentially reduce issues with ovulation in healthy women who are trying to get pregnant. 

In the case that a woman has been trying to get pregnant for up to a year and not succeeding, they must visit a gynaecologist. For women who are 35 and older, the time reduces to 6 months. It is important to note that one cannot take too much folic acid, but in the case where an individual is consuming a multivitamin supplement that contains folic acid, overdose of those other vitamins like A, D, E and K. It is crucial to be aware of the contents of any supplement that is being ingested to avoid issues.

What is the right amount of folic acid to be taken, and from where?

Folic Acid to Get Pregnant - natural sources
Picture courtesy: Verywell Family

Most women are advised to take 400 micrograms of supplements every day. This can be obtained from most stores, pharmacies and health or food shops. It is also possible to get a prescription for it. It is challenging to consistently consume up to 400 micrograms of folic acid through diet alone, that is why the supplement tabs are recommended. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. Folates can be found in various foods, including:

  • Spinach, kale cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Beans and legumes
  • Yeast
  • Beef and beef extracts
  • Wheat bran and other whole-grain foods
  • Some brands of breakfast cereal

Some people may need higher doses of folic acid and these include:

  • If there has been any instance of neural tube defects in the family, either a family member or the partner’s family member
  • If there has been a previous pregnancy that was affected by the neural tube defect
  • If the individual’s partner’s parent has a history of neural tube defects
  • If the individual is diabetic
  • If the person takes anti-retroviral medication for HIV
  • If the individual takes anti-epilepsy medication
  • If the individual has a body mass index that is above 30

A prescription of 5mg of folic acid can be prescribed by the doctor; this is because they are not available over the counter.

Folic acid benefits for men

Benefits of folic acid for men
Picture courtesy: Daily Update

Folic acid can help with erectile dysfunction, and it could potentially boost the sperm count. While there have been no definitive studies on how well folic acid improves semen quality, there is no harmful effect that the practice can cause to the person. It is worth it, especially for people who are trying to boost their fertility. However, one study found that low folate levels in semen were associated with poor sperm DNA stability. From this study, it may be gleaned that folate plays an important role in sperm health.

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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