During pregnancy, your intake of certain vitamins and minerals should increase. Getting adequate folic acid during pregnancy can help you prevent neural tube defects in your growing baby. However, 1,200 micrograms of folic acid during pregnancy is about double the recommended amount, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Too much folic acid is generally harmless, but may mask a deficiency of other essential vitamins. Always follow your doctors recommendations for vitamin and mineral intake during pregnancy and lactation.
During pregnancy and while you are lactating, your nutrition is the sole source of your child's nutrition. Your consumption of folic acid is so important, you should consume additional intakes even before you become pregnant. Any woman of child-bearing age is encouraged to take in 600 micrograms of folic acid per day, the recommended daily allowance specified by the Institute of Medicine. You can get folic acid through your diet by eating enriched breads and cereals or by taking a supplement. However, before taking any supplement, check with your doctor.
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Folate and Vitamin B-12
If you take in too much folic acid, it can hide a vitamin B-12 deficiency. When you are lacking vitamin B-12, the deficiency is evident due to a condition known as megaloblastic anemia. Anemia, or the inability to properly carry oxygen in your blood,occurs from red blood cells that become larger than they should be. Not only does it affect your bloodstream, but the anemia can also cause nerve problems. Taking in too much folic acid masks any problems with vitamin B-12 you have but without fixing any of the problems it causes. Anemia during pregnancy can result in an insufficient amount of oxygen delivered to your growing baby.
Since folic acid is a water soluble vitamin, your chances of folic acid toxicity are very low. When a water is known to be water soluble it mixes well with water, which means that any excess will be marked as waste and excreted in your urine. However, due to the interaction between supplements and any other medications you may be on, you should only take 1,200 micrograms of folic acid if your doctor recommends it.
Reasons To Increase
There may be a time when your doctor recommends taking 1,200 micrograms of folic acid or more. If you have had a baby that has was born with a neural tube defect in a previous pregnancy, you may be at high risk for another and your doctor could recommend increasing your intake of folic acid. It's not unheard of for a doctor to prescribe a dosage of 4,000 micrograms in this circumstance. However, you should not consume more than 1,000 micrograms of folic acid per day unless recommended by your doctor.