Jan. 25, 2015—January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding women about the importance of folic acid.
Getting enough folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida, a problem that occurs when the spine and skull aren’t completely closed. According to CDC, 50 to 70 percent of neural tube defects could be avoided if all women who could become pregnant took 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, before and during pregnancy.
Taking folic acid is important even for women who don’t plan to become pregnant.
Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, according to CDC. And a woman may not yet know she is pregnant during those early weeks when folic acid is so crucial to the growing baby.
According to CDC, there are 2 easy ways to make sure you get enough folic acid:
- Take a daily vitamin that contains 100 percent of the daily value of folic acid (400 micrograms)
- Eat a bowl of breakfast cereal each day that has 100 percent of the daily value of folic acid