Any women who could become pregnant, whether planning to or not, needs to take a folic acid supplement every day and make healthy food choices.
Why, you ask?
Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for the healthy development of a baby’s spine, brain, and skull during the early weeks of pregnancy.
When folic acid is taken before becoming pregnant and in the early weeks of pregnancy, the risk of birth defects called neural tube defects can be reduced.
Neural tube defects can result in a wide range of disabilities.
How much should I take?
Folic acid supplementation must be adjusted according to your medical history and need.
Start with a 0.4 mg folic acid supplement daily and speak to your health care provider to determine the folic acid dose that is right for you.
What about the food sources?
Following a well-balanced meal plan, as recommended in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, will ensure you have all the energy and vitamins needed for health.
Good food sources of folate (folic acid) include dark and leafy green vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, orange juice, dried peas, beans, nuts, and seeds.
For more information, call your local Northwestern Health Unit office.