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What supplements should I take during pregnancy?

Women who want to have a baby should take a folic acid tablet (standard dose is 0.4 mg) every day from three months before the time of conception until 12 weeks into the pregnancy. Women who stopped taking methotrexate more than three months before getting pregnant can take the standard dose.

Women who had not stopped taking methotrexate less than the suggested three months before becoming pregnant, should take a higher dose of folic acid (5 mg a day) throughout pregnancy and up to when their child turns 12 weeks old. This is because the methotrexate that was previously taken will have reduced folic acid levels.

Women who decide to continue taking the drug sulfasalazine during pregnancy are also advised to take 5 mg of folic acid a day during pregnancy up until when their  child turns 12 weeks old.

Folic acid will reduce the risk of your baby having a defect in the spinal canal (spina bifida). You can get folic acid from supermarkets, health food shops or chemists. Daily doses of 5 mg of folic acid will need to be prescribed by a doctor.

You should avoid supplements other than folic acid and iron unless you have a specific deficiency, such as a lack of vitamin D. Some Asian women may be particularly at risk of vitamin D deficiency due to low exposure to sunlight with some traditional dress and a diet that’s low in this vitamin. This can lead to osteomalacia.

If you’re taking steroids during pregnancy you may also be advised to take calcium and vitamin D tablets to help protect your bones from thinning (osteoporosis).

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