Folic Acid and Vitamin D

Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. It is recommended that all those who could get pregnant should take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day before you get pregnant, and every day afterwards, up until you're 12 weeks pregnant

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause children's bones to soften and can lead to rickets.

All adults, including those who are pregnant and breastfeeding, need 10 mcg of vitamin D each day. During the spring and summer months (April – September), most people get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. However, in the winter months (October – March), it is advised that vitamin D is taken as a supplement. This is something you can take whilst trying to conceive. If you have dark skin, for example you or your family have an African, Caribbean or South Asian background, you may not get enough vitamin D from sunlight and should consider taking a supplement all year.

You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets. If you want to get your folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A (or retinol). You may be able to get free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme. Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme:


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