The most important benefits of folic acid.. prevent neural tube defects.

​Benefits of folic acid for children:

With the goal of reducing the prevalence of spina bifida cases, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports the recommendation of the US Public Health Service that all women who could become pregnant consume 400 micrograms per day of folic acid (a B vitamin). 

Help prevent neural tube defects:

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs), which includes spina bifida.

Although some foods are fortified with folic acid, it is not possible for women to reach the goal of 400 micrograms with their usual diet.

Therefore, an AAP policy statement recommends a daily multivitamin supplement containing folic acid at the recommended dose.

Studies show that if all women of reproductive age meet these dietary requirements, 50 percent or more of neural tube defects could be prevented.

Talk to your doctor about folic acid:

Women who are at high risk of a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects (for example, due to a previous pregnancy with a neural tube defect, have diabetes mellitus, or take anti-seizure medications) should discuss that risk with their doctor.

This includes possible treatments with high doses of folic acid (4,000 micrograms per day), starting one month before you get pregnant and continuing through the first trimester.

However, as your doctor will explain, women should not take this high dose of folic acid by taking multivitamin supplements, but only under the care of a doctor.