Get that folic acid habit

At safefood, we don’t usually tell people to take supplements. That’s because if you eat healthy, you can generally get all the nutrients you need from food. There is one exception though - and that’s folic acid, for women who are sexually active and could become pregnant.

Taking folic acid for 3 months before you become pregnancy and for the first 3 months of your pregnancy can help your baby’s spine and brain develop properly.

a playful couple

But I’m not planning a baby I hear you say?

That may well be. The problem is that about half of all pregnancies are unplanned and you never know. There’s an easy solution though. Just take folic acid every day. 

But creating a new habit is not that easy?

It does take a bit of effort at first but it can be done. Here are some suggestions that we think might help:

  • Start by weighing up the costs and benefits - What is this change going to cost you, for example effort or time or money? (Just a few cents or pennies a day), and how are you going to benefit? (A much reduced chance of having a child with spina bifida or another Neural Tube Defect )
  • Know the facts – Get all the info on why it’s beneficial to take it, how much you need to take and when 
  • Commit to establishing a new routine.  – we are talking about taking a tiny tablet each day. Decide that you are going to do it. For a low effort your baby (even if it’s far into the future) can only benefit.
  • Set a routine time to take it – morning with breakfast is often good. Use prompts and cues to help you with that. You can set an alarm on your phone for when you need to take it, for example.
  • Be prepared – keep your folic acid handy and just pop it in your handbag.
  • Create a social norm – don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about taking it. Taking folic acid doesn’t mean that you are planning a baby. It just means that when you do have a baby sometime in the future, you are already helping to protect their health. If all your friends are taking it, it will make it easier for everyone.
  • What you are doing is important   - for the first few weeks it might be nice to reward yourself when you do take it every day. This could mean buying yourself a magazine or go bigger if you have a bit of spare cash to splash.
Posted: 23/07/2015 12:07:38 by Aileen McGloin
Filed under: Campaigns, Folic acid

About Me

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Aileen McGloin
Hi, my name is Aileen McGloin and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications, at safefood. I trained as a public health nutritionist originally and am passionate about changing food-related behaviour. I have a particular interest in using digital technology to promote health. At home, I love books, am in a book club and married to a crime writer. I’m a fiend for all things fashion and like walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. I live in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 10 year old daughter.