Maybe you’ve heard your mom, sisters, or friends talk about taking folic acid. Why should you take it? If you are a woman between 15 and 45 years of age, the U.S. Public Health Service and the CDC recommends that you take 400 mcg of folic acid each day.
There are several reasons to take folic acid for good health, but probably the most relevant benefit to pregnant women is that it prevents birth defects (spina bifida and anencephaly). Since these birth defects happen early in pregnancy, it is best if you take folic acid even BEFORE you become pregnant and in early pregnancy during the critical development of the baby.
Did you know that half of pregnancies are unplanned? That’s why all women who could possibly become pregnant are encouraged to take 400 mcg of folic acid daily from supplements or foods that have folate in them. Foods high in folate include vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, peas, and grains. Folic acid is added to many grain-based products – just check the label on breads and tortillas.
Conveniently, folic acid is included in most multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. If you are pregnant, you are eligible to pick up free prenatal vitamins at a Meijer store nearest you with a prescription from your doctor. If you need a referral to a doctor for prenatal care, please give us a call!