Health Tip: Childbearing Women Need Folic Acid

Helps prevent birth defects

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDayNews) -- Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that's found in some enriched foods and vitamin pills. If women get enough of it before and during pregnancy, it can decrease the risk for neural tube birth defects.

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women who could become pregnant get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. This could prevent up to 70 percent of neural tube birth defects.

But to lower their risk, women of childbearing age need to get enough folic acid before they become pregnant -- even if they're not thinking about having a baby soon.

Folic acid has been added to some foods, such as enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. A few cereals have 100 percent of the folic acid women need.

--

Last Updated: