Is 12 weeks too late to take folic acid?

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is very important for a baby’s health and development. You don’t need to take folic acid after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Why is folic acid important?

Folic acid is a vitamin (B9), found in certain foods, such as broccoli and spinage. It can also be taken as tablets (supplements). Folic acid protects your future baby against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Ideally, you should take folic acid supplements for 2 months before you get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks along. This is when your baby’s spine is developing.

I found out I was pregnant at 12 weeks, should I still take it?

By 12 weeks, the baby's neural tube should have closed so you don’t need to take folic acid. But it isn’t harmful to take it all the way through your pregnancy. So, you can carry on if you are taking pregnancy multivitamin tablets that contain it.

I haven't taken folic acid, will my baby be OK?

Try not to worry. It is unlikely that the lack of folic acid will have affected your baby’s development as the risk is small. But talk to your midwife or doctor if you’re worried.

Find out more about taking folic acid before pregnancy and during a pregnancy.


NHS Choices Why do I need folic acid in pregnancy? (Page last reviewed: 16/03/2016 Next review due: 16/03/2018)

Sue Macdonald, Gail Johnson, Mayes’ Midwifery. Edinburgh: Baillir̈e Tindall Elsevier, 2017), p 312.

Hide details

    Last reviewed on December 5th, 2018. Next review date December 5th, 2021.

    Was this information useful?

    Yes No


    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Obalim Ebele (not verified) on 10 Mar 2020 - 03:36

      Taking folic acid from 9weeks to late

    • By Rachael (not verified) on 7 Jan 2020 - 10:15

      Iam 20 weeks pregnant but unable to take my routine drugs. When ever I tried to I end up vomiting it. Is it safe for my baby? Pls advice me on what to do. Thanks

    • By Millicent (not verified) on 8 Apr 2020 - 01:40

      Am 16 weeks pregnant but because of the covid 19 lock down am unable to start antenental pls can i go and buy folic acid and take .

    • By Nida bilal (not verified) on 31 Dec 2019 - 09:04

      I cant take folic its my 5th month...can I start folic acid tablets now???
      Any problem for my baby ?? Please give me answer m soo much worried

    • By Mandisa Mbelekwa (not verified) on 27 Dec 2019 - 19:29

      I just stopped using depo injection ,I wanna fall pregnant for second time ,I don't know if I should see a doctor about planning a second baby ,I really need help .I want a second baby so bad please help me.

      Thank you.

    • By Shalini (not verified) on 17 Dec 2019 - 16:08

      I am pregnant by miss take I have taken expiry date folic acid tablets is it will cause any problems to the baby plz reply

    • By Alex siwila (not verified) on 28 Nov 2019 - 19:57

      My wife has reached 12 weeks and still taking pregnacare is it safe??

    Add new comment