Pregnancy Information Center

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Why You Should Take a Prenatal Vitamin

Folic Acid

Folic Acid

This B-vitamin (B9) protects the babys neural tube, which will become the brain and spine. Folate, the naturally occurring form of folic acid, is found in many foods including beans, dark leafy greens, and citrus. Its most important in the first few weeks, when you may not even know youre expecting. Thats why its key for women of childbearing age to take vitamins. Women who take folic acid supplements have an up to 80% reduction in neural tube defects,says Stephen Greenhouse, MD, of Shady Grove Fertility in Fair Oaks, VA; these include serious deformities like spina bifida. The US Preventative Task Force recommends 400 to 800 mcg per day.

By Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN. Rachel Meltzer Warren is a nutrition writer, educator, and counselor based in the New York City area, and the author of The Smart Girls’ Guide to Going Vegetarian. Published October 27, 2015.
Reviewed by Elisabeth Aron, MD, FACOG on August 24, 2015.