If you’re thinking about planning a pregnancy, it’s natural to want to make positive changes to you and your partner’s health and lifestyle. Here are some recommended changes to consider, ideally a few weeks or months before you start trying to get pregnant:
- Take a daily 400µg supplement of folic acid (or 5mg if you are at higher risk of neural tube defects). The UK Department of Health recommend that you take this amount of folic acid for at least one month before and for at least the first trimester of pregnancy, however it can also be beneficial to take it for at least 3 months before conception, to safeguard your nutritional stores.
- Make sure you eat a healthy diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables (especially those containing natural folates), as well as foods that have been fortified with folic acid.
- Ensure that you’re a healthy weight before trying to conceive. Speak to your doctor if you need advice.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol, and encourage your partner to do the same.
- Track your cycle so you’re in tune with your body and aware of your most fertile
- If you have a long-term health condition, seek medical advice before trying to conceive.
Why Is Folic Acid So Important If I’m Thinking About Trying For A Baby?
- Folic acid is an important B vitamin (vitamin B9) that plays an important role in the process of cell division, which is why it becomes particularly important in the very early days of pregnancy when cell division is at its most rapid. Because of this, women’s bodies need extra folic acid both before conception and during early pregnancy to help support the development of their babies.
- Supplemental folic acid intake increases maternal folate status*. Low maternal folate status is a risk factor in the development of neural tube defects in the developing foetus. NTDs occur when the brain and spine fail to form properly during the first 28 days of pregnancy, before many women even realise that they are pregnant.
- It is for this reason that it’s so important that women increase their intake of folic acid BEFORE they try to conceive. As well as playing a role in the process of cell division, folic acid also contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.
- Folic acid is water soluble, which means that our bodies can’t store it very well. This is why you need to ensure that you’re getting a fresh supply of folic acid every day.
Pregnacare Conception supplements provide advanced nutritional support for women trying for a baby. They are designed to be taken before you get pregnant and include 400µg folic acid, the exact level recommended by the UK Department of Health from the start of trying to conceive, as well as vitamin D and vitamin B12, plus zinc, which is scientifically proven to support normal fertility and reproduction.
*The beneficial effect is obtained with a supplemental folic acid daily intake of 400µg for at least one
month before and up to three months after conception.