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Thread: Should I stop taking Folic Acid?
10th April 2013 12:29 PM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
Should I stop taking Folic Acid?
My sister-in-law said that her midwife advised her to stop taking her folic acid pill on the second trimester. I am confused because my midwife encourages me to continue taking folic acid because it is very essential on my baby's development. Some articles on the internet says that it's safe to stop taking folic acid on the 2nd trimester. Kindly advise. Thanks!
12th April 2013 10:32 AM #2
Folic acid is actually a really good "B Vitamin" to take during your entire pregnancy and even beyond. There have been some reports of extremely high doses of Folic Acid causing neuropathy in a few people, but I'm guessing that you are only taking the average does of 400-800 mcg. of folic acid. In fact most prenatal vitamins have 400-800 mcg. of folic acid and they are very safe to take throughout pregnancy.
The reason your sister-in-law may have been advised to stop taking folic acid in her second trimester is because folic acid is most helpful in preventing birth defects very early in a baby's development. In fact it can be very helpful for women and men who are thinking about having a baby, to start taking folic acid 3-6 months before conception. This helps to ensure that the egg and the sperm are higher quality and will have less chance of producing a baby with a birth defect.
To give you an example of how early some birth defects can occur, I'll share a little about what I was told after giving birth to my 3rd child. This child was born with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. When we took him to the Pediatric Cardiologist, she tried to reassure me by telling me that there was nothing I could have done to avoid this, and that, in fact, the birth defect was already "created" before I even knew I was pregnant.
Well I've since learned that there are things I could have done, had I known. I could have eaten better and taken folic acid and a prenatal supplement before I got pregnant... and during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
In general, folic acid supplementation is good for you and your baby and it should be just fine to take it through your entire pregnancy. I would definitely take a prenatal vitamin until you stop breastfeeding because of the nutritional demands on your body during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
12th April 2013 11:37 AM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
Thank you Kate! That's a relief! Yes, I am only taking 500 mcg. I will definitely continue taking folic acid for the rest of my pregnancy.
8th May 2013 07:13 AM #4
As Kate has mentioned, Folic Acid is essential in preventing neural tube defects (NTDs) – serious birth defects of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly) so certainly the focus is on this in prescribing it for women during preconception and early pregnancy.
However your body needs Folic Acid to make normal red blood cells and prevent a type of anemia too. Folic acid is also essential for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA, our genetic map, and a basic building block of cells. So getting enough Folic Acid remains important for the rapid cell growth of the placenta and your developing baby after the risk of NTD has subsided.
For the same reasons Folic Acid continues to be an important nutrient not only for breastfeeding mothers, but for all women. In addition to helping you body to make new cells and to synthesize DNA it may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Even though Folic Acid can be found in a variety of foods such as beans, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and grains, studies show that two thirds of women do not get the recommended minimum of 400 mcg a day of Folic Acid.
Taking a Folic Acid supplement before, during and after pregnancy makes good sense. As always, discuss this with your care provider and ensure you aren't exceeding recommended doses (this can happen if you are taking a multi containing Folate and a Folic Acid tablet on top)