Basics About Folic Acid
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
B vitamin folic acid helps prevent birth defects. If a woman has
enough folic acid in her body before and while she is pregnant,
her baby is less likely to have a major birth defect of the brain
women do not know how important folic acid is for their bodies and
for the health of a baby they might have in the future. They also
do not know that a woman needs to take folic acid every day, starting
before she is pregnant, for it to work to prevent birth defects.
defects of a babys brain or spine happen in the first few
weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows that she is pregnant.
That is why it is important for a woman to get enough folic acid
each day, starting before she is pregnant.
womans body uses folic acid to make healthy new cells for
her baby. Scientists are not sure how folic acid works to prevent
birth defects, but they do know that it is needed for making the
cells that will form a babys brain, spine, organs, skin, and
woman needs folic acid for the healthy new cells her body makes
every day . . . even if she is not planning to get pregnant.
November 16, 2005 Content source: National Center on Birth Defects
and Developmental Disabilities www.cdc.gov
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