Planning a family
Thinking of starting a family? Be Folic Acid Aware.
Folic acid supplements taken when planning a pregnancy can help reduce the risk of the baby having spina bifida or other neural tube defects.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid, known as folate in its natural form, is one of the B-group of vitamins. Folate is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and brown rice.
Other useful sources include fortified breakfast cereals, some bread and some fruit (such as oranges and bananas).
Where can I get folic acid from?
Folic acid is easily available in most supermarkets and pharmacies.
How much do I need?
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you need it in your diet every day because it can't be stored in the body.
Most people should be able to get the amount they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Adults need 0.2 mg a day.
Planning a family?
If you are pregnant or thinking of having a baby you should take a daily 0.4 mg (400 microgram) folic acid supplement from the time you stop using contraception until the 12th week of pregnancy. This is to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
If you have already had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, a higher dose is recommended. Alternatively if there is a history of spina bifida in your family or you have epilepsy you may need to be on the higher dosage. All women with diabetes should take the prescribed 5mg of folic acid prior to conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Please speak to your GP for more advice.
Please consult your doctor or local pharmacist for advice on taking Folic Acid Supplements.
The Ponti Study - Prevention of Neural Tube Defects by Inositol
The UCL Institute of Child Health are inviting women who have experienced a pregnancy involving a neural tube defect (eg, spina bifida or anencephaly), and are now planning a further pregnancy, to take part in an important new research project.
Please click below to find out more The PONTI Study