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Is it necessary to take vitamins before pregnancy if I am seeking pregnancy through assisted reproduction?

By Marta Zermiani M.D., Ph.D. (gynecologist on Clínica Tambre).
Last Update: 02/23/2022

One of the best known vitamin supplements for women who want to get pregnant is undoubtedly folic acid, which serves to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

It is recommended to start taking folic acid supplements at least one month before pregnancy. The Mediterranean diet (normally rich in fruits and vegetables) has always been considered to be full of substances called folates, which are from the same family as folic acid. But we must bear in mind that with the change in eating habits of the population, the healthy Mediterranean diet is being abandoned, worsening our intake of these substances.

The vast majority of women who want to get pregnant, follow medical recommendations and eat a healthy diet rich in folate, should take a folic acid supplement at least one month before conception. Its consumption must be maintained throughout the pregnancy and prolonged during the postpartum period or puerperium (between four and six weeks), or during the entire period of breastfeeding, if it lasts longer. The recommended dose ranges from 0.4 mg to 1 mg per day of folic acid.

For women with risk factors for having a child with a neural tube defect (diabetes patients on insulin therapy, epileptic patients on certain medical treatments, women with obesity or a family history of neural tube defects), they should be given recommend a healthy diet and add a folic acid supplement from two to three months before conception. In this case, the dose should be higher, 5 mg is recommended until approximately the 12th week of gestation. Subsequently, a conventional supplement with 0.4 to 1mg of folic acid can be used.

There are other vitamins and supplements that are commonly recommended for women trying to get pregnant. However, these are not necessary if they have a varied diet and a healthy life. Among the most used we find Vitamin D and Iodine.

Most clinical guidelines and consensus documents on prevention programs agree that universal supplementation with iodine tablets before pregnancy and during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not normally justified in countries such as Spain where iodized salt is usually used , milk and dairy products. With these elements it is possible to cover the needs in pregnancy and lactation. Pharmacological supplementation during pregnancy and lactation could be carried out, as a temporary measure, in areas where there is clear evidence of iodine deficiency in the population or for women who do not drink milk or dairy products and who do not consume iodized salt.

Read the full article on: What vitamins should be taken during pregnancy? ( 45).
 Marta Zermiani
Marta Zermiani
M.D., Ph.D.
Gynecologist on Clínica Tambre
Graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy, specializing in Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge in Barcelona. Specialist in Assisted Reproduction with 4 years experience and currently a gynecologist at Clinica Tambre in Madrid.
Licence number: 280847526
Gynecologist. Graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy, specializing in Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge in Barcelona. Specialist in Assisted Reproduction with 4 years experience and currently a gynecologist at Clinica Tambre in Madrid. Licence number: 280847526.