During pregnancy, proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in ensuring the health of both the mother and the baby. Among the essential nutrients, folic acid and vitamin D stand out for their crucial role in foetal development and overall maternal health.

Folic acid: An essential vitamin for foetal development

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in preventing neural tube defects (NTDs) in developing babies. NTDs are birth defects affecting the brain and spinal cord, and adequate folic acid intake can significantly reduce the risk of their occurrence.

What is the role of folic acid in pregnancy?

  • Prevents neural tube defects: Folic acid is essential for the formation of the neural tube, which develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Sufficient folic acid intake early in pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of NTDs, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

  • Promotes healthy brain development: Folic acid contributes to the healthy development of the baby’s brain, ensuring proper cognitive function and nervous system development.

  • Reduces the risk of premature birth: Studies have shown that adequate folic acid intake can lower the risk of premature birth, which can lead to various health complications for both mother and baby.

Vitamin D: A key player in bone health and more

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a multitude of roles in the body, including bone health, immune function and regulating blood calcium levels. During pregnancy, vitamin D is particularly crucial for ensuring the baby’s bone development and overall health.

The importance of vitamin D in pregnancy

  • Supports bone health in the baby: Vitamin D helps the baby’s bones absorb calcium and phosphorus, essential nutrients for building strong and healthy bones.
  • May reduce the risk of preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Studies suggest that adequate vitamin D intake may help reduce the risk of preeclampsia.
  • Enhances immune system function: Vitamin D plays a role in supporting the immune system, which is crucial for protecting both the mother and the baby from infections.

Folic acid and vitamin D: A winning combination

Folic acid and vitamin D work synergistically to support the health of both the mother and the baby during pregnancy. Folic acid ensures proper foetal development, while vitamin D promotes bone health and immune function and may even reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

Ensuring adequate folic acid and vitamin D intake

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of folic acid for pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant is 400 micrograms (mcg) up until the 12th week of pregnancy (first trimester).

Vitamin D recommendations vary depending on factors such as age, skin tone and sun exposure. It is best to consult your healthcare provider to determine your specific vitamin D requirements. However, if you are pregnant or nursing, it is advisable to incorporate a daily vitamin D supplement that includes 10 mg.

Is it okay to take vitamin D3 and folic acid together?

Yes you can, no interactions were found between folic acid and vitamin D3 as they often come together in pregnancy supplements. However, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.

A convenient way to check your folic acid and vitamin D levels

DocHQ’s Essential Vitamins Check is a convenient and affordable way to assess your levels of folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin B12-essential nutrients that play a crucial role in women’s overall health and wellbeing. Understanding your vitamin levels will help you make informed decisions about your diet, lifestyle and potential supplementation needs, particularly during pregnancy or while on a fertility journey.

Remember, a healthy pregnancy begins with a healthy start, and ensuring adequate intake of folic acid and vitamin D is an essential step towards promoting both maternal and foetal health.