Folic Acid Before Pregnancy

Folic acid is a naturally occurring vitamin B. During pregnancy, it helps in the development of the neural tube of the fetus in the womb. The neural tube is a crucial part of the developing fetus as it will later become the spinal cord and therefore the connection to the brain. Nowadays, it is very common for doctors to recommend taking folic acid before pregnancy to help prevent congenital deformities like neural tube defect (NTD). This happens when the neural tube does not close properly and results in a serious birth defect.


The good news is that folic acid prevents NTD and it works both if you take it before getting pregnant and also during the first weeks of the pregnancy. In the United States of America, nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. For this reason all women who may be considering pregnancy could do well to take the recommended daily dose of folic acid. Read on to find out more about taking folic acid before pregnancy.

Trying to Conceive? – Take Folic Acid!

You can take folic acid in the form of a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid. Most multivitamin supplements contain this amount, but make sure to check the label. You can also get folate by eating a diet rich in folic acid. However, it is difficult to get the recommended amount of folate through diet alone.

Around 3,000 pregnancies are affected by NTD in the United States every year. If most women of childbearing age took folic acid, it is estimated that around 70% of NTDs could be prevented. This is one reason why folic acid is recommended even before pregnancy. Once you know you are pregnant, take at least 600 micrograms of folic acid per day. Any prenatal multivitamins you take should have the required amounts of folic acid that you may need during the pregnancy.

Folic Acid in Foods

Here is a list of foods that are rich in folic acid:

  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Enriched breads and pasta
  • Orange juice
  • Peanuts
  • Black beans
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Lentils
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

These are some of the good reasons for taking folic acid before pregnancy to get the best chances on your side to have a healthy and care free pregnancy.

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