To learn about foods that contain folic acid, go to Folic Acid Sources (Folates).

We don’t know if there are risks in taking too much folic acid over a long period. That’s why it’s essential to be careful, taking the recommended amounts for both safety and prevention.

There are three possible levels of risk evaluated by your health professional. After examining you, they will determine the risk of your baby having problems with the formation of the neural tube or other malformations is low, medium or high. The dosage they will recommend will be based on this risk evaluation.

Low Risk

No risks were identified during their evaluation of congenital illnesses and will recommend the basic supplement dosage:

0.4mg of folic acid contained in a daily multivitamin. Ideally, start three months before conception and continue up to six weeks postnatal or when you stop breastfeeding

Medium Risk

A medium risk evaluation will be made if you or your spouse have a risk of congenital anomalies associated with folates: heart, smaller joints, cleft palate, urinary tract, congenital hydrocephalus, or neural tube anomalies in the close family (mother-father, brother-sister, uncle-aunt).

If you have a wife with type 1 or 2 diabetes (the medication can reduce folic acid absorption), chronic intestine problems, kidney illnesses or abusive use of alcohol. The preventative dosage will be increased to compensate for your situation.

1mg of folic acid contained in a multivitamin, also starting three months before conception and during the first trimester of the pregnancy, then reducing the dose to 0.4-1mg for the rest of the pregnancy and postnatal period.

High Risk

High risk refers to the fact that you or your spouse have been affected by a malformation of your neural tube, and you also have a child with the same affliction. The dosage will also be increased given the risks are very high for your baby. There are two possible dosages in this case:

Based on recommendations from the Canadian Nutrition Society in April 2018, a dose of 4mg of folic acid should be taken (3 1mg pills) in addition to a multivitamin (containing 1mg of folic acid) three months before conception and then 0.4-1mg for the rest of the pregnancy and postnatal period.

or

In rare instances, you can also take a multivitamin with 5mg of folic acid under advisement by your health professional, three months before conception and for the first trimester, then lowered to 0.4-1mg for the rest of the pregnancy and postnatal period.

New:

There are now pregnancy multivitamins that, in addition to folic acid, contain omega 3 (ADH) for mothers that don’t eat fish in their diet. The omega 3 comes from very tiny fish that contain very low levels of heavy metals. This helps to improve the development of the baby’s cerebral functions. They don’t taste like fish, no smell, no burping! 😊 Something good to know!

Precautions

You should note that if it takes longer than eight months to become pregnant, you should diminish your folic acid to 0.4mg per day, even if you have high risks. Continue for another six months and then talk to your health professional about what to do to avoid taking supplements over too long a period.

I hope this article has helped you and will guide you towards taking steps to prevent different problems that can occur for your baby. Let’s take all the steps necessary to ensure its health!

Talk soon,
Marie
The Baby Expert

This post is also available in: Français

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