Arrow backLanguage
Pregnancy
Article

PLAYING: Prenatal multivitamins and folic acid for pregnancy

Add this post to favorites

Prenatal multivitamins and folic acid for pregnancy

Question: How soon can you influence your baby’s health?

Answer: Before you even get pregnant, by taking a prenatal multivitamin with folic acid.

For pregnancy, especially very early in the first trimester, and even if you’re thinking of getting pregnant, a regiment of these supplements can have a profoundly positive influence on your baby’s well-being.

5 mins to read Jul 31, 2017

If a woman doesn't get enough folic acid, her baby has a higher risk of developing a type of birth defect called a neural tube defect (NTD).

NTDs

  • NTD’s are birth defects that occur very early on in pregnancy.
  • They can lead to abnormalities of the skull, brain and spinal cord.
  • The most common NTD in Canada is spina bifida, a condition that affects the spinal cord.
  • NTDs cCan occur as early as the first three to four weeks of a baby’s development (when you may not even know you’re pregnant).

NTD prevention

One way to help prevent NTDs is to make sure you get enough folic acid daily, before and during pregnancy, with the help of a healthy diet and a prenatal vitamin.

Folic acid

While folic acid can be found in some of the foods you eat, most Canadian women don't get their recommended daily allowance when they’re not pregnant, much less the extra folic acid recommended for pregnancy.

Compare the benefits

There are many good reasons to take a prenatal multivitamin instead of just a folic acid supplement.

Folic Acid Supplements Prenatal Multivitamins
  • help prevent NTDs
  • help prevent NTDs
  • help prevent iron deficiency
  • help maintain maternal bone health
  • help prevent vitamin D deficiency

What do the experts say?

Health Canada recommends that all women who could become pregnant, as well as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, take a multivitamin containing folic acid for preganancy every day.1

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends that all women who could become pregnant take a daily a with 0.4 mg to 1.0 mg of folic acid at least 12 weeks before conception, throughout pregnancy, and for 6 weeks postpartum or as long as breastfeeding continues.2

You may be at greater risk of having a baby with an NTD if:

  • You or your partner have a personal history positive for folic acid-sensitive birth defects.
  • You or your partner have a family history for NTD in a first- or second-degree relative.
  • You have type I or II diabetes.
  • You are taking epilepsy or folate antagonist medications (Ask your doctor about any medications you are taking).
  • You have a medical or surgical condition that results in gastrointestinal malabsorption.

Woman at greater risk of having an NTD-affected pregnancy may need to take a higher dose of folic acid and should speak to their doctor.

You may be at greater risk of having a baby with an NTD if:

  • You or your partner have a folic acid-related birth defect.
  • You or your partner have a family history for NTD in a first- or second-degree relative.
  • You have type I or II diabetes.
  • You are taking epilepsy or folate antagonist medications (ask your doctor about any medications you are taking).
  • You have a medical or surgical condition that results in gastrointestinal malabsorption.

Women at greater risk of having an NTD-affected pregnancy may need to take a higher dose of folic acid for pregnancy and should speak to their doctor.

When to start

Women should begin taking a daily prenatal multivitamin at least 12 weeks before becoming pregnant. Since about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, starting a prenatal multivitamin now may be one of the best things you can do for your future baby.

Choosing your multivitamin

t’s important to choose a multivitamin that’s specifically formulated with folic acid for pregnancy because your body’s needs for certain nutrients change while you are pregnant.

Nestlé Materna helps provide the vitamins and minerals you need before pregnancy, as well as during all stages of your pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Why start Nestlé Materna before pregnancy?

Starting prenatal multivitamins before you get pregnant prepares your body for your future pregnancy.

Nestlé Materna prenatal multivitamins contain folic acid, which helps prevent NTDs.*

During pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, your need for a number of essential nutrients increases. Look at iron as an example.

  • Your body needs extra iron to help make red blood cells.
  • Not getting the extra iron you need puts you at risk of developing iron deficiency.

In addition to folic acid for pregnancy, Nestlé Materna tablet contains 27 mg of iron, the recommended daily allowance of iron for pregnancy, in a convenient once-daily dosage.

Tips for the taking

If you’re taking prenatal multivitamins and you experience difficulty swallowing or stomach upset, try these tips:

  • Take your tablet with food.
  • Include your tablet in your bedtime routine.
  • Break it in half and consider taking at two different times in the same day (Make sure to have clean, dry hands and keep the remaining half of the pill out of reach of children).
  • Crush it and mix the powder into a drink.

While breastfeeding

“Baby’s here!”…and suddenly eating well can get a lot tougher.

Taking Nestlé Materna for the first six weeks (or for as long as you breastfeed) can complement a healthy diet and help ensure you and baby get the vitamins and minerals you need.

Nestlé Materna provides:

  • Folic acid for pregnancy
  • Iron
  • B vitamins
  • Calcium and vitamin D (to help maintain bones and teeth, as well as prevent bone loss).

Nestlé Materna provides nutritional support before, during and after pregnancy.

*When taken daily prior to becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy.
**Health Canada and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.

References:

Join

MVP Logo

Get full access to expert-backed nutrition support, high-value coupons on our trusted brands and much more!

  • Ready for Baby

    Free Ready-for-Baby Savings Pack.

    Around 35 weeks of pregnancy expect to receive our Baby Pack filled with high-value coupons and useful information you and your baby will love!

  • Special member savings

    Special Member Savings

    Receive personalized coupons and savings on trusted products in your email inbox - and home mailbox - as your baby grows.

  • Helpful Resources

    Helpful resources

    Expert advice, articles, recipes, tips and tools for all the special, hard and at times hectic days of parenting.

  • NUTRITIONAL GUIDANCE FOR GROWTH

    Nutritional guidance for growth

    Specialized nutritional guidance and science-based expertise for every stage of the parenting journey - from preconception to toddlerhood.

*When registration is during pregnancy. If your baby’s already been born, expect to see your kit within a month

Search icon

Still haven't found what you are looking for?

Try our new smart question engine.