So you are thinking about trying to have a baby – now what? Part three.

So you are thinking about trying to have a baby – now what? Part three.

Do I need to take any pre-pregnancy vitamins?

It’s recommended that all women planning to conceive should take supplemental folic acid and iodine for one month prior to conception and continue this through the first trimester of pregnancy. Iodine is also recommended to be continued throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Folic acid reduces the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (like spina bifida), which occurs when the spinal cord doesn’t close properly during pregnancy.

The recommended dose in Australia is 400-500mcg daily for most women. Women with a family history or a previous baby with a neural tube defect, women on some medications such as anticonvulsants and women with various medical conditions including diabetes, obesity, and epilepsy are advised to take higher dose of folic acid at 5mg daily. Talk to your GP or obstetrician to see if this applies to you.

Iodine is mineral involved in the production of thyroid hormone, which is important in a baby’s development. An iodine deficiency can contribute to cognitive impairment in some cases.
It is recommended that women consume 150mcg of iodine daily prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

There are dietary sources of both folic acid and iodine, but it is challenging for any woman to meet the recommended daily intake through dietary intake alone. This is why supplementation is recommended. Talk to your pharmacist or GP if you have questions about what may be appropriate for you.

Do I need an iron supplement or a multivitamin prior to pregnancy?

Most women don’t require a multivitamin if they have a healthy and balanced diet.
If you’re unsure about your diet then a multivitamin may be beneficial and is unlikely to do any harm.

Routine iron supplementation is not recommended prior to pregnancy unless there is a concern about anaemia due to an iron deficiency.
 

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