Vitamin B9 also called Folic acid or folate is critical for development of the neural tube and central nervous system of the foetus. Women who are trying to conceive should take this AND continue it during the first trimester of pregnancy. The richest food sources are chana or chickpeas, dals, spinach, broccoli, & sprouts. Because this vitamin is so critical & because I find most women deficient in this nutrient when I see their lab test reports, I would strongly advise you supplement and not just depend on food.
But most doctors prescribe folic acid; not folate. What’s the difference? Folic acid is the synthetic or man-made form of Vitamin B9, whilst folate is the natural form. At Sepalika, We advise folates, not folic acid. Folic acid needs to be broken down into methylfolate before the body can use it. Many women are unable to convert folic acid to this active form. So taking a folic acid supplement is not an efficient choice. Folate, on the other hand, is a bioavailable form of B9 which means it’s a form that the body can absorb more easily.
I usually say take AT LEAST 400 mcg of folate 1-2 months before you plan to try for pregnancy. And if pregnant, at least 600mcg. However, actual dosage will depend upon your clinical symptoms and lab reports. So check with your doctor.