Can folic acid benefit pregnancy?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

There are two major benefits of folic acid during pregnancy. First, folic acid helps the body produce the extra blood volume the body needs during pregnancy. Secondly, folic acid plays a role in the prevention of neural tube defects, specifically spina bifida and anencephaly, in the developing embryo/fetus.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

The pregnancy benefits of folic acid may be among the most valuable. This vitamin is essential for women of childbearing age. It prevents anemia in pregnant women. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. These birth defects affect the brain and spinal cord. Folate may protect pregnant women from cancer and stroke. Women should get about 800 micrograms (mcg.) of daily folate or folic acid before getting pregnant. Once pregnant, they should take 1,000 mcg. a day. It’s found in prenatal vitamins. Since 1996, this nutrient has been required to be added to enriched grain products. Neural tube defects have since dropped by 25% in the United States.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.