Keep To A Healthy Weight
If you’re overweight, you may have problems getting pregnant and fertility treatment is less likely to work.
Before you get pregnant you can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to find out your BMI. But this may not be accurate once you’re pregnant, so consult your midwife or doctor.
Having a healthy diet and doing moderate exercise are advised in pregnancy, and it’s important not to gain too much weight.
Is It Safe For Women To Take Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid is an important requirement for women and despite it being added to bread and cereals, a lot of women dont get enough of it. Women who are looking to get pregnant are recommended a daily dose of 400 mcg of folic acid. During pregnancy, around 600 mcg is advised.
A lot of doctors will recommend prenatal vitamins to help women conceive or just a multivitamin to be had daily. As long as the multivitamin includes 400 mcg of folic acid, it is good to go. Folic acid is also a water-soluble vitamin so it needs to be replaced on a daily basis.
Do I Need To Take Folic Acid Every Day Even If I’m Not Planning To Get Pregnant
Yes. All women who can get pregnant need to take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day, even if you’re not planning to get pregnant.2 There are several reasons why:
- Your birth control may not work or you may not use birth control correctly every time you have sex. In a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40% of women with unplanned pregnancies were using birth control.8
- Birth defects of the brain and spine can happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before you know you are pregnant. By the time you find out you are pregnant, it might be too late to prevent the birth defects.
- You need to take folic acid every day because it is a water soluble B-vitamin. Water soluble means that it does not stay in the body for a long time. Your body metabolizes folic acid quickly, so your body needs folic acid each day to work properly.
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Folic Acid And Male Fertility
While there is clear research on the benefits of folic acid for fertility in women, the research is mixed when it comes to folic acid and male fertility.
Some studies have suggested a link between folic acid intake and male fertility. In particular, a double-blind study led by Dr. Wai Yee Wong of the University Medical Center Nijmegen in the Netherlands studied men struggling with male factor infertility. They found that those who had been taking folic acid and zinc supplements for 26 weeks experienced a 74% increase in the amount of normal sperm in their semen. This study suggests that folic acid can actually improve the quality of a mans sperm while lowering the risk of sperm abnormalities that could interfere with conception.
However, a larger double-blind study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2020 studied couples who were planning infertility treatments. They found no evidence of higher live birth rates among men who took zinc/folic acid supplements.
What does this mean if youre struggling with male infertility? Put simply, fertility is a complex process. Its best to start with a semen evaluation to determine the cause of your fertility challenges. From there, your doctor can recommend treatments to fix or manage any issues they find.
The Nutrient Every Woman Needs Before Pregnancy
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient that every woman should take, whether planning to get pregnant or not.
If youre planning to become pregnant, you already know how important a healthy diet, exercise and getting plenty of sleep are, but one of the most important ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to get enough folic acid prior to conception.
Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate or Vitamin B9, is one of many super-star nutrients that our bodies need to run on all cylinders. Everyday new cells are rapidly reproducing in every organ of our bodies but without folic acid, none of it would happen.
Folic acid has a very important role in making those cell reproductions possible and happen in an efficient manner, Tama Bloch, RDN, a pediatric research scientist with Abbott says.
During pregnancy, folic acid becomes even more important because of its role in the prevention of neural tube defects .
Why Folic Acid is Important
Neural tube defects are birth defects of the spinal cord such as spina bifida, the brain such as anencephaly, and Chiari malformation, another type that causes brain tissue to descend into the spinal canal.
Neural tube defects affect approximately 300,000 babies worldwide each year but between 50 and 70 percent of neural tube defects can be prevented when women take folic acid in a prenatal vitamin or supplement.
Folic Acid and Folate: Make It a Daily Habit
Folic Acid: How Much Do You Need?
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Why Should I Take Folic Acid
If you have the right level of folic acid in your body before you get pregnant, it reduces the risk of the baby developing neural tube defects by up to 70%. Neural tube defects are problems with the brain or spinal cord, including spina bifida.
Spina bifida is not common but it can cause a wide range of problems for the baby, including:
- problems with movement
- learning difficulties.
How Much Folic Acid Do You Need
All pregnant women should take get at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Most prenatal vitamins contain this amount of folic acid.
Taking folic acid after you discover youre pregnant may not be soon enough. Many women dont realize theyre pregnant until 6 weeks or more after conception. Neural tube defects occur during the first month of pregnancy, often before you realize youre pregnant.
To make sure you have enough folic acid in your body to prevent neural tube defects, the CDC recommends women who plan to become pregnant or who are of childbearing age take 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
If youve already given birth to a child with a neural tube defect, you may need higher doses of folic acid in the months leading up to your next pregnancy and during the first few months of pregnancy. Your doctor can advise you on the right dose.
You may also need higher doses of folic acid if you:
- have kidney disease and are on dialysis
- have liver disease
- drink more than one alcoholic beverage daily
Natural folate is found in many foods including leafy greens, beets, and broccoli. Some foods in the United States are fortified with folic acid. These include:
- orange juice
Theres no guarantee that you will get enough folic acid from food alone, so a supplement is important.
You cant get too much natural folate from foods. However, you
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What Recognised Standards Should I Look For On Fertility Supplements
If you do decide to take fertility vitamins and supplements when trying for a baby, it is important to only take ones with recognised standards, as such supplements can vary significantly in quality. Vitamins that come under the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority or the Traditional Herbal Registration are among the best to take, as they are regulated and contain what they say on the label.
Between 10-20% of women who would like to become pregnant wont get pregnant within the first year of trying.
Why Do I Need To Take Folic Acid Before Conceiving
What are the benefits of folic acid for conception? Taking folic acid doesnât aid conception itself but it does help to prepare your body so youâre ready for pregnancy from day one. Some aspects of the development of your foetus, such as neural tube development, can be well underway before you even realise that youâre pregnant. Taking folic acid ahead of actively trying for a baby ensures youâve built up healthy levels of this vitamin in advance.
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Does Folic Acid Affect Fertility What The Science Says
Folic acid is one of the most widely recommended dietary supplements for pregnancy, but does it also have an affect on fertility and wider reproductive health?
This article covers the science behind folic acid and fertility, and why you should consider taking a supplement even way before actively trying to get pregnant.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during your pregnancy.
Folic acid is the most important vitamin to take when planning a pregnancy. Folic acid is a B vitamin that cells in your body need for growing and developing. Taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least 1 month before and during pregnancy can help lower the risk for problems with the babys brain and spine called neural tube defects . Some women, like those who have had a pregnancy affected by NTDs or with sickle cell disease, may need more folic acid. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the dose that is right for you.
Most nutrients should come from the foods you eat, but its also a good idea to take prenatal vitamins. Your nurse, doctor, or midwife can recommend the best vitamins for you, on top of folic acid.
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The Best Vitamins For Female Fertility
As well as a healthy balanced diet and an active and healthy lifestyle, there are a number of vitamins that have been identified as really aiding female fertility. Whilst they are certainly not essential for conception, if taken at the appropriate dose, they can increase your chances.
Folic acid is an important vitamin, not only for women trying to conceive, but during the first three months of pregnancy. Folic acid can help increase your chances of becoming pregnant and is an important nutrient in helping the babys spine develop the way it should. It is recommended that women trying to conceive take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily and continue taking this supplement for the first three months of the pregnancy.
Studies have shown that folic acid also has fertility benefits for men, increasing the quality and quantity of sperm.
Coenzyme Q10 is a natural antioxidant, which is found in many foods and available as a supplement. Our bodies make CoQ10 and our cells use it to produce the energy the body needs for cell growth and maintenance. Studies have found that CoQ10 supplements in older women trying to conceive can improve their chances of pregnancy success.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
By regulating the hormones, promoting ovulation and increasing cervical mucus, as well as the flow of blood to the reproductive organs Omega 3 Fatty Acid has been scientifically proven to help fertility.
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Why Is It Important To Take Folic Acid Before You Get Pregnant
A babys neural tube develops in the first weeks of pregnancy, and often before you may know youre pregnant, which is why its important to take folic acid if youre planning to have a baby. Doctors may recommend all women take a supplement of folic acid since many pregnancies are unplanned.
Monica Moore, founder of Fertile Health, LLC, USA
Folic Acid is a B vitamin that is used to generate new cells in the body. Research has shown that Folic Acid helps to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in the baby when taken prior to, and during, pregnancy. The recommendation by the Center for Disease Control is to start taking 400g of folic acid 1 month prior to conception and continue it during the pregnancy. If a woman has had a child affected by a neural tube defect in the past, she should speak with her doctor about increasing the preconception dose
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Does Folic Acid Impact Fertility
Folic acid can have a powerful effect on female fertility, both before and after conception.
The reason it is widely taken in supplement form when planning pregnancy, or already pregnant, is that in the early stages of fetal development, folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.
But additionally, for women who are struggling to conceive, folic acid has been shown to help prevent early pregnancy complications that can lead to miscarriage, and is essential for the healthy development of babys brains and spinal cords.
Without enough folic acid, the cellsâ¦ cant function or grow properly and the tube doesnt close. The spine, skull, and brain can be affected, with open or closed abnormalities. Two of the most common types of NTDs are spina bifida and anencephaly. â Stanford Childrens Health
Folic acid and female fertility benefits dont stop there.
Folic acid may help with cell metabolism throughout our body, including in ovaries.
Folic Acid Before Conception: How To Take It
A woman of childbearing potential who anticipates pregnancy should take an additional 0,4 mg per day of folic acid and continue to do so at least throughout the first trimester of gestation.
Here are the indications of the Higher Institute of Holiness on the intake of folic acid
- It is good to follow a correct and balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables that provide good amounts of folic acid: oranges, mandarins, clementines, kiwis, strawberries, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, endive, chard, broccoli, cabbage.Among foods of animal origin, the highest folate content is found in liver and other offal, some cheeses and eggs
- It is necessary to integrate with a supplementation daily of folic acid, to start at least one month before conception and throughout the first trimester of pregnancy
- The recommendation is 0,4 milligrams per day . But be warned: Women with well-recognized risk factors for neural tube defects are recommended 4-5 milligrams per day.
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What Does Folic Acid Do In The Body
Folate is important for a range of functions in our body.
For instance, it helps our body make healthy new red blood cells. If you are deficient in folic acid, these blood cells may form to be abnormally large and not function as they should.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout our body, and problems with them can lead to anemia, constant fatigue, weakness as well as a pale complexion.
Are Folate And Folic Acid The Same Thing
The terms folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably, even though they are different. Folate is a general term to describe many different types of vitamin B9.
Types of folate can include
- 5, 10-methylenetetrahydrofolate
Food fortification is a way to add vitamins or minerals, or both, to foods. Some rice, pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid. These foods are labeled enriched. Folic acid is a specific type of folate that does not generally occur naturally.
Folic acid is ideal to use for food fortification. It is more stable than types of natural food folate. Heat and light can easily break down types of natural food folate. Folic acid is better suited for food fortification because many fortified products, such as bread and pasta, are cooked.6
CDC recommends that women of reproductive age who could become pregnant consume at least 400 micrograms of folate every day. However, its difficult to get 400 mcg of folate through diet alone. You can get 400 mcg of folic acid each day by taking a vitamin with folic acid in it, eating fortified foods, or a combination of the two, in addition to consuming a balanced diet rich in natural food folate.
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What Are The Benefits Of Folic Acid
Without enough folic acid in your body, your baby’s neural tube may not close correctly and they could develop health problems called neural tube defects. These include:
- Spina bifida: incomplete development of the spinal cord or the vertebrae
- Anencephaly: incomplete development of major parts of the brain
Babies with anencephaly usually do not live long, and those with spina bifida may be permanently disabled. These are scary problems, to say the least. But the good news is that getting enough folic acid may protect your baby from neural tube defects by at least 50%. According to the CDC, if you’ve already had a baby with a neural tube defect, getting enough folic acid may reduce your risk of having another child with a neural tube defect by as much as 70%. If you have had a previous child with a neural tube defect, tit is recommended that you increase your daily amount of folic acid to 4000 mcg each day. Check with your doctor about how much you should take.
When taken before and during pregnancy, folic acid may also protect your baby against:
What Can Happen If I Do Not Get Enough Folic Acid During Pregnancy
If you do not get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for neural tube defects.
Neural tube defects are serious birth defects that affect the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may cause death. These include:
- Spina bifida.6 This condition happens when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not fully close during development in the womb, leaving the spinal cord exposed. As a result, the nerves that control the legs and other organs do not work. Children with spina bifida often have lifelong disabilities. They may also need many surgeries.
- Anencephaly.7 This means that most or all of the brain and skull does not develop in the womb. Almost all babies with this condition die before or soon after birth.
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