Folic acid helps with cell division. It is a key part of growth and development. Studies show this vitamin may prevent brain and spinal cord defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests people of childbearing age take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid supplement a day. Most multi and prenatal vitamins have this amount.
You should start taking it a few months before pregnancy. Keep taking it until instructed to stop. You may also choose to just take folic acid 0.4 mg alone.
Good food sources are:
- Lima beans
- Enriched breads and cereals
You need 1000 milligrams (mg) a day of calcium before pregnancy. Calcium is most needed in the last trimester when it is deposited in the baby’s bone.
Good sources of calcium are:
- Calcium fortified orange juice
- Flavored milks
- Green leafy vegetables
- Low fat cheeses, such as mozzarella
Do not use supplements that have more than 100% Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of any vitamin or mineral.
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K may cause birth defects if you take too much.
- Too much Vitamin C can cause rebound scurvy after the baby is born.
- Do not take more than 100 mg of biotin. It can affect lab results during infertility treatment.
A standard over-the-counter multi-vitamin is best. You can take prenatal vitamins, but they are not needed.
Stop drinking before you are pregnant. Do not use alcohol when you start stimulation shots for IVF. It can hurt your baby’s nervous system. Too much alcohol can rid your body of vitamins you need, such as thiamin and folic acid.
Nicotine and Drugs
Stop using nicotine and all drugs before you are pregnant. Do not use nicotine or other drugs when you start stimulation shots for IVF.
Smoking can cause problems with infertility in both partners. You have a higher risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and other birth defects too.
Do not have more than 2 to 3 servings a day. One serving is 8 ounces of coffee or soda with caffeine.
Research shows people who have large amounts of caffeine (more than 150 mg each day) during pregnancy:
- Have smaller babies
- Can have lower iron absorption
- This can lead to anemia.
- Have a higher risk of miscarriage
NutraSweet is the sweetener used in diet soda. It is believed to be safe if limited to 3 to 5 servings a day. You are likely drinking less healthy fluids, such as skim milk or fruit juice, if you drink more than 5 servings of fluid with NutraSweet each day.