Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby's brain and spinal cord. The CDC suggests that you start taking folic acid supplements daily for at least one month before you become pregnant and continue during pregnancy.
Folic acid plays an important role in helping your baby’s neural tube develop into her brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is a B vitamin and is found in many foods. The best food sources for folic acid include fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, broccoli, strawberries, oranges, and dried beans.
Recommended amount of folic acid during pregnancy:
- While you're trying to conceive: 400 mcg
- For the first three months of pregnancy: 400 mcg
- For months four to nine of pregnancy: 600 mcg
- While breastfeeding: 500 mcg
Sources: www.webmd.com and www.nih.gov