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Just had a lecture from the doctor about the importance of folic acid...

(10 Posts)
argento Thu 24-Sep-09 16:45:48

I got unexpectedly pregnant last month but miscarried at 5 weeks. DP and I have now decided to start trying properly. I mentioned this to a doctor today while having a colposcopy and he insisted I needed to take folic acid for 3 months before conceiving - he reiterated this advice to me on the way out too, stressing what a risk it was for spina bifida if I wasn't taking folic acid for 3 months before pregnancy.

Now, 3 months seems a bit unnecessary to me - obviously it's the ideal, but how much of a difference does it really make? I've been taking folic acid for about 5 days now and should ovulate in about 7 days time, so best case scenario I'll have only been taking it for a couple of weeks pre-conception. It is really worth delaying?

LatinDAISYcal Thu 24-Sep-09 16:51:47

I wouldn't delay, and if you have a healthy balanced diet then I shouldn't think it's too much of a problem. However, I read somewhere that spina bifida is on the increase again so your doc is probably just making sure you know what's what.

As for how much of a difference it really makes to have it for three months, I couldn't even hazard a guess, but I assume studies have been done that suggest 3 months is the optimal time.

Try not to worry about it too much, heaven knows pregnant women have enough sticks to beat themselves with!

randomtask Thu 24-Sep-09 16:53:57

The folic acid is especially important in the first few months of pregnancy.

They say you should take it for 3 months minimum before (it was in the news recently about more babies being born with spina bifida as there are more unexpected pregnancies). I was told by the family planning nurse and my GP that research shows the risks are even lower if you take it a year before you conceive.

The government were at one point considering putting it in bread as it's that important.

But obviously it's up to you. If you look it up, it's the one thing all the conception experts agree on (and believe me I've been driven nuts by them lately)!

Good luck and I hope whatever happens, your next pregnancy will come along at the right time and will be a healthy one.

earoma Thu 24-Sep-09 16:54:36

folic acid is extremely important and such an easy way to help prevent your baby having spina bifida it really is worth delaying as so many cases sould be prevented if it was taken beforehand if you are serious about ttc i really would suggest that you listen to the doc which is not something i say often lol

choosyfloosy Thu 24-Sep-09 17:08:47

just an article explaining why there may be more emphasis on it at the moment

Cochrane review on folic acid supplements - this just talks about 'before pregnancy' as a time to supplment, though some of the studies described use 3 months as time in which to test how to get the folate levels to rise. I don't know if this is a standard time period for any change in diet to take effect, perhaps with plenty of safety built in, or a specific one for folic acid - can't see any info.

Maybe drop a note to your GP?

argento Thu 24-Sep-09 17:12:22

I mentioned TTC to my normal GP recently, and despite apparently specialising in women's/reproductive health she didn't even mention folic acid to me - her only comment was "get the colposcopy done first so you know you're in good health".

earoma Thu 24-Sep-09 17:31:23

at the end of the day the decision has to be yours not ours as the aunt of a disabled neice i tend to be o bit OTT with regards to things like this but whatever you choose i wish you all the best as have been trying for a year now with no luck so fingers crossed for us all

LatinDAISYcal Thu 24-Sep-09 17:57:02

I think it all has to be taken in perspective though; 15 cases per year, for a population of 5.5M means that the odds of having a baby with spina bififda are very very small anyway.

Yes, it's a serious condition and yes we should all ideally take supplements from before we try to conceive but provided you are taking the supplement now and are aware of the risk, then I don't see what there is to gain by delaying; it's unlikely you'll conceive first time anyway so will probably have another couple of cycles in the bag before becoming pregnant.

Obviously you have to weigh up the risks yourself though.

argento Fri 25-Sep-09 11:26:30

Given that the risk of spina bifida is so low anyway, and that it could take several months to conceive, I think I won't bother delaying anything. As you say, it's about weighing up the risks.

KC11 Fri 25-Sep-09 14:07:43

I agree. Don't delay. The fact that you're taking it now is fine. Some foods already contain folid acid. I beleive spinach, broccoli and wholegrain bread. Id' supplement your diet with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and some nuts (unless you're allergic) as the fertility books recommend these.

Good luck!

K TTC #1 for 4 and half years.

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