Are You Getting Enough Folate?

Folate is a B vitamin. It helps new cells in your body grow and survive. This is called folic acid in its man-made form.

Everyone needs folate. But it’s extra important for women are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Having enough folate in your body can help prevent birth defects. These serious issues can affect how your baby's brain and spinal cord form. These defects are called neural tube defects. 

Experts say that pregnant women get at least 400 micrograms of folate each day. Many women don't get enough through diet. Talk with your healthcare provider about taking folic acid supplements. Most women start taking these supplements at least one month before getting pregnant.

Then they keep taking folic acid throughout their pregnancy.

Even if you’re taking a supplement, you still need to eat a balanced diet. Eat foods that are rich in folate. These include leafy, green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and whole grains. Many grains are fortified with folic acid. These include cereals, breads, and flours. In fact, one serving of some enriched breakfast cereals has 400 micrograms of folic acid.


Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN

Date Last Reviewed: 3/11/2016

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