Q – What’s the deal with folic acid? I know I’m supposed to start taking it but don’t fully understand why? Should I take it before I get pregnant or just during my pregnancy? Do I need to keep taking it if I’m breastfeeding?

A – Folic acid is a B vitamin and has been found to be important during the process of neural tube development in the fetus. (The neural tube includes the spinal cord and brain)  If taken during the very first part of pregnancy, the incidence of neural tube defects decreases significantly.  Therefore doctors recommend that all women take folic acid and in the perfect world they should start it three months before conception and take it for at least the first 6 weeks after conception has occurred.  It is not necessary to take while you are breastfeeding but if you do, it will not harm you.

Dr. Linda Ducholke, a mother of two, has been a successful Family Practitioner with Obstetrical privileges for the past 20 years. The main focus and passion of her practice is obstetrics and childcare.