Folic Acid Awareness Week 2014



Folic Acid Summary

Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from a multi-vitamin or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent from 50% up to 70% of some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine.

Experts recommend that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from:
fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals,

  • daily multi-vitamin, and
  • eat a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet.The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.

Nutritional habits

Although all enriched cereals and grain products in the U.S. are fortified with the B-vitamin folic acid, only one-third of U.S. women of childbearing age consume the recommended amount from their diet. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid every day is a key way that women can get the recommended amount of 400 mcg.

Be prepared before pregnancy

Women need folic acid, even if not planning to become pregnant, since 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects (NTDs), by up to 70%.

Message to the Hispanic community

Hispanic babies are more likely than others in the U.S. to be born with an NTD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Latinas in the U.S. consume the least amount of folic acid and have the least knowledge about folic acid among racial or ethnic groups.

 Free Materials

The National Council on Folic Acid (NCFA) has provided materials that can be used on your Web site as well as promoted to the media.  External Links
Resources from State Programs

Educational Materials                    

What do you know about Folic Acid?
Take the Quiz!
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Play the Folic Acid Game!
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Folic Acid Take it for Your Health Pamphlet:

Free Folic Acid Materials

Self Study Course

Folic Acid and the Prevention of NTDs

  © 2014, National Birth Defects Prevention Network