FOLIC ACID AND VITAMIN D IN PREGNANCY:
New guidelines on folic acid and vitamin D in pregnancy reinforce the message that any woman who may be trying to conceive or who has become pregnant should be recommended to take folic acid, from at least 12 weeks before conception until 12 weeks gestation. Additionally all pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a daily supplement containing 10μg of vitamin D.
Of particular note is the advice regarding Folic Acid 5mg for those women at higher risk of having a baby with a Neural Tube Defect.
Neural Tube Defect affected pregnancy if one or more of the following apply:
• There is a family history of NTDs (woman or father’s family)
• She has diabetes
• She is taking anti-epileptic drugs* (for any indication)
• She has a BMI > 30
• She has coeliac disease
• She has thalassaemia
If you fall into any of the above at risk groups described speak to your GP regarding a prescription and/or advice as appropriate.
For lower risk groups folic acid 400 microgram is recommended and can be purchased at low cost in pharmacies and supermarkets. Vitamin D supplements are also widely available to purchase at a relatively low-cost.
For pregnant women on a low income, or who are under 18, Healthy Start Vitamins containing Vitamin D are available free of charge. See www.healthystart.nhs.uk for further information on this programme.