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Updated 18 February 2014

Folic acid for a healthy baby

Planning a baby? Then take note of your folic acid intake. Folic acid, a vitamin B, is important to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

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Planning a baby? Then take note of your folic acid intake. Folic acid, a vitamin B, is important to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. As it takes a while to build up sufficient amounts of the vitamin, it is a good idea to start taking supplements early.

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A non-pregnant woman should take 400 mcg daily and a pregnant woman 800 to 1 000 mcg. Also eat folate-rich foods such as fortified breads and cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, citrus fruits and whole grains on a daily basis. Folic acid supplementation must begin four weeks before conception and be maintained throughout pregnancy, but at least up to the eighth week.

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