How Much Folic Acid Should You Take During First Trimester?


1 Why Folic Acid Is Important

Folic Acid is a type of B Vitamin that is crucial to the development of the fetus during pregnancy. Pregnant women should be sure that they are getting adequate amounts of folic acid when they are pregnant.


Folic Acid is the synthetic form of folate, which is a nutrient found in foods such as whole grains, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and beans. However, it is hard for most women to eat enough of the foods that are high in folate, so they can take folic acid supplements instead.

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, so it is crucial to get enough. Neural tube defects affect about 3,000 pregnancies a year in the United States, and can occur in very early pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant.


Folic acid has also been known to reduce the risks of anemia, preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy, and other defects such as heart defects, palate defects, and cleft lip. As you can see, folic acid is something you want to really pay attention to during your pregnancy.

2 How Much Is The Right Amount?

Ideally, if you are trying to conceive, you should start taking folic acid supplements even before you are pregnant. For women who are trying to get pregnant, 400 micrograms per day is the recommended amount.


Once a woman becomes pregnant, she should up the amount of folic acid that she is taking to 800 micrograms per day. Some women, such as those who have already had a baby with spina bifida, those who are taking seizure medications, or those who are having twins, might need even more folic acid. For these women, the recommended dosage is 1000 micrograms.

Your doctor will be able to fully explain which dosage of folic acid is right for your particular situation. Make sure that you are paying attention to your prenatal vitamin and how much folic acid it contains, because you might need to have additional folic acid supplements beyond the amount in your prenatal vitamin.


 3 Are There Other Sources I Can Get Folate?

It’s important to know that you can also get folate from food sources, but it might be a little bit tougher. This is because cooking food destroys the folate.

You should eat the food in the very rawest possible form in order to reap the benefits of the folate. Some foods that are highest in folate include things like beef liver, spinach, black eyed peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, avocado, broccoli and leafy greens.


The FDA also requires food manufacturers to add folic acid to certain products, like enriched breads, grains, rices and cereals.  There are many options for getting enough folic acid in your diet, so make sure that you do.

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Ms. Wisniewski has over 15 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse, having also worked previously as a nurse midwife in the Philippines and India. She enjoys empowering women and providing family centered care to women from all cultural and educational backgrounds.

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