Folic acid & other nutrients in pregnancy

Learn more about folic acid & other supplements you can take during pregnancy

A healthy lifestyle and balanced diet is essential at any point in your life, but even more so during pregnancy. Vitamin supplements can help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant you’ve no doubt heard of folic acid, but if you haven't it’s a vitamin that the government recommend taking whilst trying to conceive, and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.


What is folic acid?

Folic acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9, is part of the B vitamins group. As with other B vitamins, folic acid has many health benefits including:
• Supporting a healthy immune system
• Helping reduce tiredness and fatigue
• Playing a role in normal psychological functions
Folic acid also plays a critical role before, and during, pregnancy to support the development of a healthy foetus. It’s been proven to play a part in reducing the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida, and also supports maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.*

Scientific studies showed that women who had enough folic acid before getting pregnant, and during the first three months of pregnancy, significantly reduced the risk of their baby developing NTDs.


Where can I get folic acid from?

The following foods are a good source of folic acid:
• Green leafy vegetables
• Brown rice
• Granary bread
• Oranges
• Bananas
• Fortified breakfast cereals
It can be difficult to get the right level of folic acid needed for this critical time through diet alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough folic acid is by taking a folic acid supplement.


What level do I need?

The government recommends taking 400 micrograms (mcg/µg) of folic acid every day. You should take this from when you are trying to conceive until you are 12 weeks pregnant.


What other vitamins should I take?

It's important to continue to eat a varied and healthy diet during pregnancy, and although most vitamins and minerals can be obtained through the diet alone, there are instances where you might find taking a supplement useful. There are other vitamins and minerals which can support you during pregnancy, such as vitamin D, calcium, iron, vitamin C and omega 3.


Vitamin D

It’s important to make sure your baby is getting enough vitamin D during your pregnancy. You can take a supplement to support this.

Vitamin D is a nutrient obtained from sunlight and diet, and is essential for strong, healthy bones and teeth. It works to support your bones by aiding the absorption of calcium. Most people know about the importance of calcium for healthy bones and teeth, however not many people know that your body struggles to absorb calcium without vitamin D. Therefore, getting enough vitamin D is particularly important in early childhood when growing bones develop.

NICE (National Institute of Care and Excellence) advise that pregnant women are likely to be at risk of having low levels of vitamin D. The UK government recommends that every pregnant woman considers taking a daily 10 µg vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter. Take a look at our range of vitamin D supplements suitable for pregnant women.


Calcium

Working hand in hand with vitamin D,