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Trying to Conceive Clinic

Planning to get pregnant

When should I take prenatal vitamins?

Eating well and keeping fit is a great way to prepare for getting pregnant. Being in good health can enhance your chances of conceiving and it’s not just about female health, would-be dads should get in on the act as well.

Folic acid

Folic acid is the most important supplement to take before you conceive. Ideally you should start taking a daily table of 400mcg of folic acid at least three months before you start trying and continue taking this daily through your first trimester of pregnancy.

A deficiency in folic acid has been linked to serious neural tube development problems, increasing the risk of the child suffering spina bifida or hydrocephalus.

You will see folic acid supplements designed for pre-pregnancy and pregnancy in any chemist, but you can also derive folic acid from foods like brussels sprouts, beef or yeast extract, spinach, kale, broccoli, granary bread, wholegrain pasta and brown rice. Other foods – like many breakfast cereals – are fortified with folic acid. However, whilst eating these foods will be beneficial to your diet, it’s a good idea to keep up your intake of the supplement to ensure you are getting enough folic acid every day.

Prenatal supplements for women and for men

You can opt for a pre-pregnancy multi-vitamin that includes many different vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for general good health. Make sure you pick an option specifically designed pre-pregnancy as some things like vitamin A should not be taken in too great an amount at this time. A pre-pregnancy specific supplement for women will include the necessary dose of folic acid as well as the vitamins and mineral.

There are some minerals that can really help men’s health too, and a pre-pregnancy specific supplement for men will contain all the right vitamins and minerals for healthy living, including 100 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of zinc. Zinc is important for sperm health.

Start taking these supplements about three months before you want to start trying for a baby. If you have already started trying don’t worry – just start taking a supplement and continue to keep yourselves well with a healthy, well balanced diet.

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