Not only do pregnant women need more folic acid, breastfeeding women do too. The recommended dietary intake of folic acid for women who are breastfeeding is 500 mcg daily. This can be obtained through fortified foods, prenatal vitamins, or multivitamins. Since every woman's situation is different, however, you should talk to your healthcare provider about folic acid and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
An Overview of Folic Acid and Breastfeeding
Most women are aware that they need more folic acid during pregnancy, but did you know that you also need more while breastfeeding? This is one of the many reasons why many healthcare providers recommend that breastfeeding women continue to take a prenatal vitamin.
Folic Acid and Breastfeeding Recommendations
The recommended dietary intake (RDA) of folic acid for breastfeeding women is 500 mcg per day (more than is recommended for most adults). Although many women may be able to meet their RDA requirement just through food, it is often recommended that all breastfeeding women take a folic acid supplement (often through a prenatal vitamin or multivitamin), just to be sure. Because folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, any excess will simply be excreted through your urine.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Folic Acid and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about folic acid and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about folic acid and breastfeeding in your particular situation. If your healthcare provider has not mentioned taking a prenatal vitamin or multivitamin while breastfeeding, be sure to ask.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 25, 2008.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement fact sheet: folate (8/22/2005). NIH Web site. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/folate.asp. Accessed January 25, 2008.
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