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What is folic acid?

What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin. Everyone needs folic acid especially if a woman may become pregnant. If a woman has enough folic acid before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby’s spine or brain, also called neural tube defects or NTDs. Women need to take folic acid every day before they are pregnant to help prevent NTDs.

How much folic acid do I need?  
It is recommended that all women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and eat a healthy diet. Most multivitamins sold in the United States have 400 mcg of folic acid. To ensure your multivitamin contains folic acid, check the label; it’s easy!

Another great way to get enough folic acid is to eat the natural form of folic acid in food. Foods with folic acid are leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Folic acid is also in enriched breads, cereals, and other grain products.


Nutrition Facts

Links to additional materials on folic acid available online:

Folic Acid Downloadable materials from the CDC

Materials from March of Dimes

Spina Bifida Association Fact Sheets

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