Resolving to live a clean and healthy lifestyle that includes vitamins like folic acid, is a perfect way to begin the new year.

Whether you’re planning to start a family this year or not, it is in every woman’s best interest to be ready.

In 2011, roughly 45% of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended.

Even when planning, it can be weeks before a woman knows for sure she is pregnant.

The most dramatic changes and development for a baby occur during the first trimester. During this time, the baby develops at such a rapid rate. The boy or girl is fully formed, and an average of four inches long by the end of the first 12 weeks.

During the first four weeks, a baby’s major systems and organs begin to form. This is the time when neural tube defects that affect the brain, spine, and spinal cord, like spina bifida, develop.

This is why it is important to always be ready once you’re of childbearing age.

Cutting out recreational drug use, talking with your doctor about what prescribed medications (like antidepressants) to reduce and remove, and adding folic acid to your daily regimen, are all things that are important to begin doing before getting pregnant.

Stopping the use of drugs and certain medications after learning you’re pregnant, could be too late to prevent serious problems for the child.

It takes time for a drug to completely leave your body once you stop taking it, especially if it’s one you’ve been using for a long period of time.

For example, according to a Harvard study, for Prozac users, it can take 25 days for 99% of the drug to leave the body.




99% out of body in
paroxetine (Paxil) 4.4 days
sertraline (Zoloft) 5.4 days
escitalopram (Lexapro) 6.1 days
citalopram (Celexa) 7.3 days
fluoxetine (Prozac) 25 days


For most recreational drugs, while they tend to leave the blood stream within a few days, they can have more damaging effects on the embryo in a shorter period of time and have serious side effects such as low birth weight, premature labor, and even miscarriage and fetal death (source).


Drug Out of the blood stream
alcohol 10-12 hours
barbiturates 1-2 days
benzodiazepines 2-3 days
cocaine 1-2 days
ecstasy 1-2 days


If you find out you’re pregnant two weeks after conception, it could take another week or more for the drugs to completely wash out of your system. By that time, the child is already a month into development.

In the case of folic acid, to receive the full benefits, it needs to already be in the expectant mother’s system. It is recommended women start taking folic acid at least one month prior to conception. The C.D.C recommends 400 mcg of folic acid be taken each day for the best results.

Resolving to live a clean and healthy lifestyle that includes vitamins like folic acid, is a perfect way to begin the new year.