Folic Acid: A Woman's Best Friend

January 10, 2020

There are many ways parents prepare for a baby. One important way moms can prepare is to get all the nutrients a growing baby needs. Folic acid is a B-vitamin essential for proper cell growth and is a great place for moms to begin their preparation.

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord that can cause serious health risks for babies. Each year, NTDs occur in about 3,000 pregnancies in the United States. According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, folic acid can prevent up to 70% of serious birth defects.

Folic acid helps the body produce new cells, which can benefit both mom and baby. It also helps prevent cancer by maintaining normal cellular DNA.

Because NTDs develop within the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is important that women have enough folic acid in their system prior to becoming pregnant. Women should start taking 400mcg of folic acid for at least three months prior to conception to reap the benefits it can offer. Women who have unplanned pregnancies should start as soon as they know they are pregnant.

In addition to a supplement, women should seek out dietary sources of folic acid, such as leafy green veggies, dried beans, and citrus foods.

Taking folic acid supplements is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Women who are considering getting pregnant should speak to their physician about this supplement.

To learn more about preparing for your bundle of joy, visit or call 806-212-BABY (2229).