Essential Pregnancy Nutrients – Folic Acid
Eating a varied and balanced diet during pregnancy is very important for both you and your baby. Pregnancy nutrition is a big topic but getting started is easy - use the table below to familiarise yourself with essential nutrients and vitamins to include in your pregnancy diet and learn about the benefits for you and your baby.
Why do you and your baby need it?
You need to increase your folic acid intake if you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant. Folic acid is essential for the healthy development of your baby in early pregnancy. It’s a particularly important vitamin for your little one’s nervous system development.
Eat it so you can
Prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida – a defect where the baby’s spinal cord doesn’t fully fuse together and can result in a range of disabilities that can be severe.
How much is enough?
You need 600 micrograms per day of dietary folate.
You can achieve this by eating foods that naturally contain folate (a dietary source of folic acid). Consult your doctor or dietitian for advice if you don’t feel your dietary intake is meeting what you and your baby need.
On your plate
Bread (most bread in Australia has added folate);
Green leafy vegetables
Folate enriched cereals;
Fruit juices with added folate;
Yeast extract (e.g. vegemite)
Extended cooking can destroy or reduce the amount of folic acid available so take care when preparing your vegetables.