Folic Acid Awareness Week

Summary: Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper human cell growth. If taken before and during a pregnancy, folic acid can prevent up to seventy percent of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, which are called neural tube defects. During January, Folic Acid Awareness week is addressed to highlight the importance of folic acid during pregnancy.

Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper human cell growth. If taken before and during a pregnancy, folic acid can prevent up to seventy percent of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, which are called neural tube defects. During January, Folic Acid Awareness week is addressed to highlight the importance of folic acid during pregnancy.

The Center for Disease Control and the Untied States Public Health Service recommend that all women between the ages of fifteen and forty-five consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to prevent the two main types of neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly. Because these birth defects develop within the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is vital to have enough folic acid in your body BEFORE becoming pregnant and continue getting enough folic acid through the pregnancy. Statistics show that most pregnancies in the United States are not planned, it is important for women to take a daily vitamin or supplement that contains folic acid.

Women can get the recommended levels of folic acid every day by:

  • Taking a daily multi-vitamin containing folic acid, or
  • Eating fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals that contain folic acid.

While all enriched cereals and grain products in the United States are fortified with the B vitamin folic acid, only one-third of United States women of childbearing age get the recommended amount from their diet. The easiest way to get the folic acid your body needs is to take a multi-vitamin or supplement. Before beginning any new vitamin or supplement, you should speak with your doctor to verify the supplements you are taking are safe for your situation. This image is not our own, and borrowed from the National Birth Defect Prevention Network, which works to educate the public on the importance of folic acid in pregnancy to avoid neural tube defects.

Resources Used:

CDC

Reclaiming Intimacy

National Birth Defects Prevention Network

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