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A Fertility Nutritionist on Preconception Health & Folic Acid Awareness Blog Feature
Carolyn Gundell, M.S.

By: Carolyn Gundell, M.S. on January 9th, 2017

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A Fertility Nutritionist on Preconception Health & Folic Acid Awareness

Wellness | Nutrition Program

The goal in fertility treatment is a healthy baby, healthy mom, healthy family. 

The emphasis at RMACT (Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut) is on healthy. Our pregnancy rates prove that we are highly effective at helping our patients become pregnant. As we take each and every pregnancy seriously, including yours, we encourage and guide every person trying to conceive to have a pre-conception plan. That plan includes prenatal vitamins, including a specific daily dose of folate. 

Preconception Health: Folic Acid Awareness Week

Carolyn Gundell, M.S., RMACT's Fertility Nutritionist is both passionate and knowledgable about preconception health. As this week is National Folic Acid Awareness Week, occuring during January (Birth Defect Prevention Month) Ms. Gundell will be sharing information all week long. Below, read the basics about folic acid. We will be posting more information from Ms. Gundell later this week about the specifics of folate, pregnancy and healthy babies. 

Preparing for the baby that we are hoping for is vital for it's health. 

We know that's your goal- a healthy baby. It's ours as well. ~ Lisa Rosenthal

January is Birth Defect Prevention Month & January  8-14th is National Folic Acid Awareness Week

It is very appropriate that these two themes both occur in the same month because folic acid helps to prevent a specific type of birth defect called neural tube defect (NTDs).  During pregnancy, the neural tube begins to form a baby's brain and spine just two to three days after the missed menstrual period and is completely formed within approximately 10 days (27 days after conception). If the neural tube fails to close, two birth defects can occur called anencephaly and spina bifida.  For this reason, it is very important for all women of childbearing age to take 400-800 mcg folic acid daily BEFORE they are pregnant.

RMACT recommends, before pregnancy, that patients take a prenatal with a minimum of 800 mcg folic acid daily, 3 months or more PRIOR to pregnancy.  Consumption of foods rich in folate (food based folic acid) is also highly encouraged but does not replace folic acid from supplements.  The amount of food based folate only gets absorbed by the body about 50-60 percent.  In addition, cooking can destroy 50-90 percent of folic acid found in food.

Throughout the month of January, RMACT will be sharing more information on folic acid; how to choose a prenatal; and who may be at greater need for watching their folic acid intake. Keep an eye out for a blog article or two and in-house flyers. I am available to answer folic acid and supplement-related questions at cgundell@rmact.com.    

About Carolyn Gundell, M.S.

Carolyn Gundell, M.S. is a nutritionist, specializing in PCOS and fertility. With over 20 years of nutrition experience, Carolyn has a special interest in helping women with conditions that affect fertility, including insulin resistance, diabetes Type1/Type 2, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), lipid disorders, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, underweight and overweight concerns. Carolyn earned her M.S. in Nutrition from Columbia University and completed her undergraduate studies in Biology/Nutrition at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. She is trained as a Research Associate in Clinical Skills Training, and is certified in HIPAA, CPR, First Aid and Food Safety & Sanitation. Previously, Carolyn worked at Pediatric Endocrine & Diabetes Specialists, The Center for Advanced Pediatrics, both in Norwalk and at Yale University Medical Center’s Obesity, Diabetes, PCOS Clinic and The Yale Fertility Center.