Is it too late to take folic acid?

Folic acid is taken before the first 12 weeks of pregnancy as it supports the development of the neural tube. After 12 weeks it is not harmful to take but the neural tube will have grown and so it will not benefit from it.

Folic acid is a vitamin that helps in the early formation of your baby's neural tube, which will turn into the brain and the spine.

Because of this, it is recommended that women who are trying for a baby start taking folic acid before they become pregnant and then carry on taking it for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

By 12 weeks, the baby's neural tube will have closed and so it is not necessary to take folic acid, but it is safe to take all the way through your pregnancy if your pregnancy multivitamin tablets contain it.

It is unlikely that the lack of folic acid will have affected your baby’s development as the risk is small, but if you’re worried about not having taken folic acid during the early months of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Read more about folic acid and other pregnancy supplements here

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Sources

1. Bestwick JP et al. (2014). “Prevention of neural tube defects: a cross sectional uptake of folic acid supplementation in nearly half a million women.” Plos One 2014; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089354

2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) Antenatal Care, Clinical Guidelines 62: http://publications.nice.org.uk/antenatal-care-cg62

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