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Unborn baby was found to have anencephaly. Had D and C. Advised to take folate before next pregnancy. Suggest?

Mar 2016
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Hi, I recently found out my unborn baby of 12 weeks had anencephaly. We had a D&C the next day. We would love to try and conceive again soon, I would like to know how long we need to wait. I started taking 5mg of folate a week ago. My obstetrician advised that I take the higher dose of folate for two months before trying to conceive again. Is this correct? I have read other information where 1 month is ok?

Posted Sun, 14 Jul 2013 in Getting Pregnant
Answered by Dr. S Patra 1 hour later

Thanks for writing to us.

Anencephaly is a cephalic disorder and associated with neural tube defect (NTD). It has several reasons like genetic cause (deficiency of transcription factor), using certain medication (anti-epileptic drug), insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (Type 1), exposure of heavy metal toxins (lead, mercury, chromium) etc.

Dietary deficiency of folic acid has significant role in developing NTD during early weeks of pregnancy. Recent studies have proved that taking folic acid for 3 months in preconception period has significantly reduced occurrence of NTD in some extent.

Therefore, it is recommended to take folic acid supplements for at least 3 months before & after conception. With previous H/O anencephaly, it is much needed supplement and you need to exclude other associated reasons before planning next pregnancy. Your consulting obstetrician can help you regarding this.

To summarize, it is ideal for planning next pregnancy after 2-3 months and you continue to take folic acid during this time. Your doctor also gives the same recommendation. Just follow it for best out come.

Hope, it helps for your information. If you have any other query, you can freely ask me.

Wish your good health & take care yourself.

Dr Soumen
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