Pregnancy 35 and Older Community
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Avatar universal

prepare to get pregnant - folic acid dosage, etc

I am planning to get pregnant. I'd appreciate if you could share your experience about what you did before pregnant...I know folic acid is critical for a healthy pregnancy...do you know the recommended daily dosage? Is it better to take mutivitamin or folic acid tablet alone? which brand is better?

16 Responses
480331 tn?1310403529
Hi!  I have always heard that 1000mcg or 1mg of folic acid is the daily recommended requirement for TTC and women who are currently pregnant.  Most OTC prenatal vitamins will be just fine, just read the label, or ask your pharmacist to help recommend a good brand. You could also just take an individual folic acid supplement. You can get additional folic acid through certain foods as well like liver, egg yolks, beans, nuts, and spinach to name a few.  You can also google which foods are high in folic acid.  I wish you much success TTC and please let us know if you get a BFP!  Pam
Avatar universal
Hi Pam,
Thanks for your reply.
I am currently taking centrum forte. it has 0.6mg folic acid. do you think i need to add 0.4mg on a daily basis?
also, should i take prenatal vitamins before i get preganent? i thought they are for woman who is currently pregnant.

Avatar universal
I am currently 35 weeks pregnant.  My doc had me on a prenatal vitamin and prescribed folic acid (I can't remember the dosage but is higher then what you get over the counter) prior to even getting pregnant.  However, I had 3 m/c's prior to this.   Definitely take a prenatal...
480331 tn?1310403529
So .6mg is 600mcg.  Sure you can take more, up to 1000mcgs.  I always took a prenatal and an iron supplement when I was TTC, just to have it in my system.  Target, Walgreens and CVS have very decent OTC prenatals to get you started.  If/when you become pregnant your OB will probably recommend a prenatal for you.  Good luck!  Pam
865924 tn?1240327536
I started prenatals 6 months before TTC. Another option is Flintstones as a multivitamin and an extra folic acid pill. The minimum amount of folic acid recommended for pregnancy is 800mcg but most people take 1000mcg (1mg) If you want to take a regular multivitamin and supplement with folic acid then you must make sure that the multivitamin says "Vitamin A (from Beta Carotene" If it just says "Vitamin A" then DO NOT TAKE IT! Too much Vitamin A causes birth defects. Beta Carotene is natural and your body will process what it needs.

I also started a supplement of DHA. DHA is a type of fish oil that is specifically related to the development of the neurological system and eyes and is really important in the first trimester when these important systems are forming. It is also a natural anti depressant and may help with hormone related emotions. I also recommend a trip to your OB/GYN for pre pregnancy exam and counseling. Good Luck TTC!!!
480331 tn?1310403529
Although cmoretti is right for the most part...DHA supplements are actually proven most effective much later in pregnancy (late 2nd trimester to birth) when the brain is progressively forming and developing, then up to 2yrs after that.  Once you become pregnant there are prescription prenatals with added DHA.  Don't make yourself crazy buying supplements off the shelf...At this point, a prenatal, multivitamin, or folic acid will suffice in adequately supplying your body for what it needs to begin conceiving.
752077 tn?1281475494
I have been TTC for 3 months but I started taking OTC prenatal vitamins for 6 months prior to TTC, it is very important for women to have enough folic acid in the diet for at least 6 months prior to TTC.  It is so important to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and others.  When you are actually pregnant then I would switch to a prescription strength prenatal vitamin.  I am a pediatric nurse and in nursing school they recommend that nurses teach women between the ages of 18-40 take a minimum of 400mcg of folic acid and 1200 mg of calcium to make sure that you have enough in your system for any possibility that might conceive prior to when you are planning.  And another thing is women need to avoid caffeine while TTC and when they are pregnant because the caffeine leaches calcium out of the bones, which is necessary for the proper growth of our bodies as well as the baby's development.  When we are pregnant the baby leaches calcium out of our bones and if we don't have enough in our system this tends to cause osteoporosis later on in life.  I hope this helps.  
Avatar universal
Thanks ladies.

I am so glad i asked the question:) i just got Centrum Materna...i am starting taking it tonight:)

Just wondering, Pam, how much iron supplement did you take? do u remember?

cmoretti, the prenatal i got contains both Beta-carotene (750mcg) and Vitamin A (300mcg) could this be a potential problem?

jen, there is only 250mg calcium in it...should i take more? also, thanks for the advice about caffeine...

one more thing, are there any side effects of prenatal vitamins?

480331 tn?1310403529
I took and still take Feosol Iron tablets 65mg 2xs a day, but I have always had low iron levels, and because I'm currently pregnant I have to take them, I'm also on a prescription prenatal with DHA called PreNexa.  You may not need to take the iron pills at all, or at least the dose that I take.  The most common side effects of prenatals are upset stomach and constipation.  Alot of women take prenatals with a meal or at bedtime.    
657586 tn?1224587947
There is an interesting article on www.babycenter.com in regards to prenatal vitamins and nutrients. It will provide some answers for your concerns. On their "google search site" type in prenatal vitamins or I can email you the article.  The reason "calcium" is low in all prenatal vitamins is explained in the article.

I have a background in nutrition specializing in vitamins and minerals. This article does a great job - it is simple and easy to read. In regards to iron it is best to get your blood levels access to determine if you need extra iron before pregnancy then again after pregnancy. During pregnancy more iron is required because you are "making" more blood. Obviously you do not need permission from your doctor to start trying to get pregnant but if you have concerns - get a physical and blood work to make sure everything is ok and ask your doctor and pharmasist questions.

Avatar universal
Thanks pam. it looks like i need to go see my doctor to decide whether i need extra iron.

GermanBaby, the website is VERY helpful. I didn't know there is so much to learn:)
865924 tn?1240327536
The government considers 3,000 mcg RAE (10,000 IU) the maximum amount of PREFORMED vitamin A that you should get from supplements, animal sources, and fortified foods each day.  Keep in mind that processed foods also contain preformed vitamin A so check labels and make sure you don't go over. (NOTE: You can still get as much beta-carotene as you want from fruits and vegetables.)
Avatar universal
Hi! Are you still taking centrum materna? I also bought this one, last week, after reading a lot over the internet I thought this was the best brand. And now I realized it was all about their great marketing campaigns!
My husband, who is a nutricionist, realized it has a lot of ingredients that aren't good for you.
It contains FD&C red no. 40. Some studies have found adverse health effects that are associated with this dye. In fact in some countries this dye is prohibited!
Also, it contains sodium lauryl sulfate in the
vitamins. This is the most dangerous ingredient used in skin and
hair-care products! Why would they add this to prenatal vitamins?

Many other friends had told me that centrum isn't a good brand becuase they add too much **** to it that isnt good for your body. They listed this under the non-medical ingredients, and is a looong this compared to other mutivitamins!

Now I am trying to find a natural prenatal vitamin, but I am having a hard time. Does any one here know about a good natural prenatal vitamin? I found some in whole foods, but you have to take 3 per day and I am not good about remembering taking pills, so I am looking for a one time per day vitamin.
If someone knows about this, please let me know!!
951946 tn?1263565383
I have to second what lighting2009 says about centrum vitamins. I work in the field of holistic healthcare so I know a lot of holistic health practitioners, nutritionists, et. cetera. I'm lucky enough to have access to professionals-only nutrition seminars through one of the doctors that I work for. It *really* does matter what quality of vitamins you take, and the stuff you can get at the drugstore, by and large, is of such poor quality that your body actually absorbs very little of it. Or as one doctor says, "You'll have the most expensive pee in town!"

Please consider brands such as Standard Process, Rainbow Light, Metabolic Maintenance, and Biogenesis. Rainbow Light prenatals are available at places like Whole Foods. They're recommended by a lot of doctors & midwives.

Just don't want to see you wasting your money!

lighting2009: I am taking a prenatal from Whole Foods called Simply One Prenatal. The brand is SuperNutrition. I chose this one for the same reason-- just one pill per day. I showed it to my naturopath and she gave it her approval.
Avatar universal
it was a long time ago when you posted this but i wanna knw if centrum materna helps you conceive? and how long did you take centrum materna before you get pregnant? :)
Avatar universal
Hi, ladies!
What fertility supplements, diet do you take, that help you ovulate and regulate your hormones? Thank you.
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