Folic acid: Superhero supplement for moms-to-be -


Folic acid: Superhero supplement for moms-to-be

Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells. It is considered the superhero supplement before and during pregnancy because it can dramatically reduce the risks of a baby developing severe birth defects. 

It has always a part of doctor's orders during pregnancy, but OB/GYN Howard Stelly, M.D. says it is even more important before becoming pregnant.

"The recommendation is that you start at least 30 days before conception, preferably longer," he said, "optimal would be a year."

Starting a daily folic acid supplement early can shrink the chance of your baby developing brain and spinal cord defects. Whether you are taking a basic daily women's multivitamin or prenatal vitamins, you want to make sure that it has at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.

The earlier you can start taking them, the better. Most women's multivitamins have 400 micrograms of folic acid and that is the recommended amount for women of child-bearing age.  

But no worries if your pre-natal vitamins have more. There are also foods that can help you get more folic acid in your diet. Go for leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereals and Great Northern Beans.

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