Whether you’ve an upcoming wedding or you’re buying a new car, Ireland is the ideal spot for a bit of friendly advice. My greatest experience of this has been when an upcoming pregnancy is on the cards. No sooner has the pregnancy been announced but at every corner there’s an aunty, friend or neighbour who’ll be on hand to give you their tuppence worth of pregnancy tales. Some rather informative, some a little personal, but, all in all, the sharing of what worked or didn’t work for someone else’s pregnancy can be really rather useful.

Sometimes recommendations can be conflicting and what works for one may not for another, but a constant piece of advice by health professionals is the importance of folic acid in the diet while pregnant. It has been well researched how beneficial taking folic acid before and during a pregnancy can be in preventing neural tube defects and serious abnormalities in the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Since birth defects can happen in the early stages of pregnancies, often before a lady even realises she is pregnant, the World Health Organisation recommends all ladies of a child bearing age take a daily supplement of folic acid. With the significant link between neural tube defects and a low folic acid intake, over 50 countries worldwide now have a mandatory policy in place for the fortification of folic acid in cereals and flours. Legislation for a similar mandatory policy is currently being discussed between the relevant authorities in Ireland, showing just how important folic acid is to us and for ladies who are planning to conceive.