National Folic Acid Awareness Week

National Folic Acid Awareness Week

by Posted on: January 10, 2013Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

January 6 through 12th is National Folic Acid Awareness Week. An adequate amount of folic acid is very important in the prevention of birth defects.

The Facts

  • Folic acid is a vitamin that can help prevent birth defects. Women of childbearing age need an extra 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day.
  • Women can get the recommended 400 mcg of folic acid by taking a daily multivitamin or by eating fortified foods. A single serving of many breakfast cereals has the amount of folic acid that a woman needs each day. Check the label of your favorite cereal to see if it has 100% DV (daily value) of folic acid.
  • Although all enriched cereals and grain products in the U.S. are fortified with the B-vitamin folic acid, only one-third of U.S. women of childbearing age consume the recommended amount from their diet. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid every day is a key way that women can get the recommended amount of 400 mcg.
  • Important growth of the baby happens very early in pregnancy, before most women know that they are pregnant. Folic acid can prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain or spine if a woman takes it before and during pregnancy.
  • If you are pregnant, remember to take a prenatal vitamin with iron and folic acid every day.
  • Women need folic acid, even if not planning to become pregnant, since 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects (NTDs), by up to 70%.

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