What nutritional considerations for all women who wish to become pregnant?

Updated: Aug 20, 2019
  • Author: Carmel Armon, MD, MSc, MHS; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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All women of childbearing potential should be receiving folic acid at a dosage of 0.4 mg/day, in accordance with the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If neural tube defects occurred in a woman’s previous pregnancy, increased antepartum fetal surveillance is required for the current pregnancy. This surveillance should include consultation with a geneticist and targeted fetal ultrasonography to assess the fetal spine and cranium. In addition, preconception supplementation with folic acid at 4 mg/day is recommended; this dosage is higher than that advised for a woman without such a history.

Vegetarians, particularly strict vegetarians, need to be aware of the risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency and other vitamin deficiencies. Strong consideration should be given to supplementing vitamin intake and checking levels.

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