NUTRITIONAL NEEDS DURING PREPREGNANCY
Ideally when couples decide to have a child, they should make an appointment with their physician to discuss any health concerns or needed changes to the woman’s diet. At that time the physician needs to emphasize the importance of the woman taking a folic acid supplement at least 1 month prior to concep-tion. During the 1990s, researchers established a correlation between taking folic acid before pregnancy and during the first trimester and having babies with brain and spinal cord defects. The results of this research led the U.S. government to require the addition of folic acid to grain products. The U.S. Public Health Service and the March of Dimes recommend that all women of childbearing age take a multivitamin or 400μg of folic acid daily.
Lifestyle and habits also need to be taken into consideration before becoming pregnant. Certain medications, smoking, illegal drugs, and alcohol can all be detrimental to the embryo. Good nutrition is essential before becom-ing pregnant and during pregnancy.