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Is folic acid helpful in pregnancy?

Q: I read in your Q&A section that taking folic acid tablets before 3 months of pregnancy is good to have a healthy baby. My wife is planning to be pregnant. Please tell the name of the tablet and how many milligrams can she take (2 or 3 times a day).

A:Folic acid must be taken during early pregnancy (up to 12th week) to avoid the risk of neural tube defects in the baby. Since many, if not most, women in India have a low Hb (anaemia), generally a combination of iron with folic acid is recommended. Your wife can take either Fecontin-F Continus (controlled release iron + folic acid 500 mcg) marketed by ModiMundipharma (only one tablet daily) or Elferri-Z (iron + folic acid 1.5 mg) marketed by Sigma Labs (only one capsule daily). The usual dose of folic acid ranges between 0.5 mg (500 mcg) to 5 mg daily. Folic acid alone as 5 mg tablets are available under the trade name of Ingafol. Usual dose is one tablet daily.

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