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Folic Acid For Conception

Folic acid plays an important role in the development of the nervous system in your growing baby.

A diet rich in folic acid, at lest one month before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy, may reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infants.

What is the role of folic acid?

Folic acid is involved in many functions but especially in the formation of red blood cells and in the normal development of the neural tube – the structure that becomes the brain and spinal cord in the foetus.

It is therefore necessary to increase your intake of folic acid both before and during pregnancy. How can you increase your intake of folic acid?

  • Eat a wide variety of folate-rich foods every day.
  • A folic acid supplement (0.5mg daily) is encouraged 1 month before conception and during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Women unable to meet requirements through diet alone or with a family history of neural tube defects should speak to their doctor about taking a higher dose folic acid supplement.

Folate rich foods

Eat a variety of folate-rich foods:

Excellent sources

Green beans, leek, parsnip, cabbage, beetroot, green peas, spinach, capsicum, cauliflower, chick peas, oranges, orange juice, peanuts, oats, wholegrain bread.

Good sources

Wheat germ, cos lettuce, banana, avocado, carrot, parsley, tomato, strawberry, canned salmon, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds.

Liver is also rich in folic acid, but it is not recommended for pregnant women because it is also very rich in vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can be harmful to your unborn child.

For more informative articles on fertility nutrition, make sure to also check out how calcium and iron is important before and during pregnancy.

This fact sheet contains general information and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific advice for your personal situation.

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