This is an article by the public health depeartment of California. I put it here because this is something I did not know, the relationship between folic acid and the prevention of birth defects, but which is important to know. Especially since it is recommended to take folic acid for a month before pregnancy, while most people don't visit the MD until several months after becoming pregnant.
Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 5 - 11, 2014
Updated January 3, 2014
Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from multi-vitamins or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine by 50% to 70%. Every woman needs folic acid every day, whether she’s planning to get pregnant or not, for the healthy new cells the body makes daily.
The CDC recommends that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily at least one month before getting pregnant from:
- Fortified foods like grains, pastas or breakfast cereals
- Daily multi-vitamin
- Eating a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet
The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.
Multivitamins and folic acid pills can be found at most local pharmacy, grocery, or discount stores. Check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 micrograms (mcg).