Although a balanced diet should provide all the nutrients you need, it’s recommended to take a supplement of folic acid (400 micrograms per day) for 12 weeks before you start trying for a baby, to help minimise the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida.

Woman taking a supplement tablet

As sunlight is the main source of vitamin D and there are few dietary sources, all adults and children over five years old, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, are advised to consider taking a 10 microgram vitamin D supplement daily during autumn and winter. Vitamin D helps support the growth of your baby’s bones, and trying for a baby is a good time to start thinking about topping up your vitamin D stores. For more information on vitamin D visit the NHS website.

There are pre-pregnancy supplements available that some women choose to take to ensure they aren’t deficient in any vitamins or minerals. It’s not advisable to take non-pregnancy supplements while trying for a baby as these may not be appropriately formulated and can contain ingredients not recommended at this time.

Women with a BMI over 30 (check your BMI range here) are advised to take a higher folic acid supplement of 5mg (milligrams) per day.

If this applies to you, if you have a family history of spina bifida, have pre-existing diabetes, or if you take anti-epilepsy medicines, your GP will be able to provide you with a prescription for the higher-dose version.

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