Do I Need Folic Acid Before Pregnancy? How much do you take? Introducing how to choose folic acid supplements for pregnancy

Folic acid is said to be taken early in pregnancy for the healthy growth of the unborn baby. In the first place, we will explain various questions about folic acid, such as what kind of nutrient folic acid is, why it is necessary, how much to take, how to take it, and how to choose recommended supplements during pregnancy and pregnancy.

Find out in this article

  • What is folic acid?
  • Why is folic acid necessary during pregnancy?
  • How much and how to take folic acid
  • Types of folic acid supplements and how to choose them
  • Nutrients other than folic acid needed during pregnancy

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What is folic acid

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin of the B vitamin group, and the excess is excreted from the body and cannot be stored in the body, so it is necessary to take it every day. Folic acid is also involved in metabolism, promoting the biosynthesis of nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA and proteins, and assisting cell production. It is an important nutrient especially for the baby in the belly, and it is recommended to take it during pregnancy, pregnancy, and even after childbirth.

Why is folic acid a necessary ingredient before pregnancy?

Numerous studies have reported that folic acid intake during early pregnancy reduces the risk of fetal neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly . In Europe and the United States, especially in the United States, the addition of folic acid to cereal foods has become mandatory, and there is a movement to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in children. 1) In Japan, in 2000, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued a notice regarding the intake of folic acid for women of childbearing age, stating the possibility of reducing the risk of fetal neural tube defects. 2)

Ally of pregnancy life! how to take folic acid

There should be many people who do not know how much folic acid is necessary for the growth of the body and how to take it. In particular, women who want to become pregnant or who are pregnant are concerned about the effects on the fetus. Here, we will introduce the guideline of intake, how to take it, and precautions when taking it.

How to take folic acid

It is ideal to take folic acid with food and supplements, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recommends taking folic acid as a supplement in addition to food from one month before pregnancy to three months after pregnancy . Folic acid is found in large amounts in seaweed such as wakame, plant foods such as vegetables, and animal foods such as liver. An unbalanced diet for taking folic acid is also not good, so it is necessary to try to eat a well-balanced diet.

daily intake

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare indicates the recommended intake of folic acid in the Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2020 edition). For adults over the age of 18, the recommended daily intake is 240 milligrams. 2) In addition, it is recommended that women who are trying to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy take folic acid supplements, etc., at a dose of 400 µg/ day.

Can I take it during pregnancy and after giving birth?

In early to mid-pregnancy, it is desirable to take an additional 240 µg/day of folic acid in addition to the amount of folic acid in the dietary intake standard . Even after the second trimester of pregnancy, in order for the baby to grow healthy, it is necessary to take sufficient amounts of many nutrients, including folic acid, and supplementation is recommended. Since late pregnancy and after childbirth, we recommend taking 340µg/day, which is 100㎎ more than the usual intake, during breastfeeding to deliver nutrients through breastfeeding .

How to choose a folic acid supplement

When choosing a folic acid supplement to support pregnancy and nutritional support during pregnancy, many people may not know which one to choose. As a point to choose, let's check ① content of folic acid ② type of folic acid ③ nutrients contained ④ price . In addition to that, compare the supplement shape and ease of drinking, and choose the supplement that suits you.

  1. Folic acid content Especially for women who are trying to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy, choose a product that provides 400 μg of folic acid per day .
  2. There are two types of folic acid: polyglutamic acid type and monoglutamic acid type. The polyglutamic acid form is about 50% absorbed by the body, and you need to take twice as much as the monoglutamic acid form, so check which type of folic acid is included.
  3. Nutrients included
    Fertility and pregnancy require nutrients such as iron, minerals, calcium and vitamins . In particular, make sure that it contains iron and calcium, which are often deficient in pregnant women. There is no need to take multiple supplements as long as they contain multiple vitamins.
  4. Price From the time of pregnancy to postpartum, it will continue for a long time. In terms of price, choose the one with high cost performance that is easy to continue.

Elevit Folic Acid Supplement:

It is a supplement sold by Bayer Yakuhin Co., Ltd., which has a history of over 150 years. All processes are manufactured under the same strict quality control as pharmaceutical manufacturing, so you can take it with confidence. Compared to other products, the folic acid content is 800 μg, which is double the amount required for early pregnancy, but the upper limit of folic acid intake from supplements is 1,000 ㎍, so there is no problem.

folic acid content 800 μg
iron content 21.5mg
calcium content 125mg
Nutrients other than folic acid 12 vitamins and 6 minerals

Introducing other than folic acid! Ingredients to take before pregnancy

Before and during pregnancy, there are nutrients other than folic acid that you should take in. In particular, it is easy to lack minerals such as iron and vitamin D , so be sure to actively take supplements.

Iron is a nutrient necessary to make hemoglobin in red blood cells, and a lack of it results in anemia because not enough hemoglobin is made. During pregnancy, more blood is needed to nourish the fetus, and a lack of it can lead not only to anemia in the mother, but also to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the baby in the womb. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recommends an iron intake of +2.5 mg/day in addition to the normal recommended amount during early pregnancy, and +9.5 mg/day during the middle and late stages of pregnancy. 3)

Vitamin D, which is synthesized by exposure to sunlight, tends to be deficient. Vitamin D is also involved in calcium absorption, and a lack of it can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D are also necessary for the formation of a baby's skeleton, so it is important to consume enough during pregnancy. You can get vitamin D from foods such as salmon, mackerel, and dried shiitake mushrooms, and if you don't have enough vitamin D, supplement it.

Read the following articles together
Introduction of nutrients and meals necessary for pregnancy


Folic acid is an important nutrient that supports the health of a woman's body and her unborn baby during, during, and after childbirth. If it is difficult to take in from food, it is recommended to take it efficiently with supplements. There are many folic acid supplements that contain various vitamins and other nutrients, so look for one that contains well-balanced iron, calcium, vitamin D, etc. necessary during pregnancy and pregnancy, and take it efficiently. let's Also, don't rely solely on supplements and try to have a well-balanced diet.

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1) Natsuko Sato (Minohe), Hidemi Takimoto Folic acid and fetal development. Vitamin 82 (1): 19-23, 2008

2) Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2020 edition)”

3) Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “Dietary Guidelines for Pregnant Women Starting Before Pregnancy-Building a Healthy Body Before Pregnancy” 21-22, 2021