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If you haven’t already, start taking daily folic acid supplements right now. It’s one of the best things you can possibly do for your baby in the early days of pregnancy, as it will help to guard against spina bifida and other neural tube defects, as well as some heart problems and, it’s now thought, low birth weight.
Folic acid is found naturally in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Lots of breakfast cereals and bread are also fortified with it, so look out for it listed on the packaging. However, the simplest way to ensure you are getting enough during pregnancy is to take a dedicated pregnancy supplement that includes the recommended 400 micrograms per day.
You should start taking folic acid when you’re trying for a baby and continue for the first 12 weeks, but if the pregnancy was a surprise, just start as soon as possible.
Some women, for example those with a family history of neural tube defects may be advised to take a higher dose, but your midwife or GP can advise on that.
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