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    Folic Acid and Pregnancy

    What Are the Benefits of Folic Acid?

    Without enough folic acid in your body, your baby's neural tube may not close correctly and she could develop health problems called neural tube defects. These include:

    Babies with anencephaly usually do not live long, and those with spina bifida may be permanently disabled. These are scary problems, to say the least. But the good news is that getting enough folic acid may protect your baby from neural tube defects by at least 50%. According to the CDC, if you've already had a baby with a neural tube defect, getting enough folic acid may reduce your risk of having another child with a neural tube defect by as much as 70%. If you have had a previous child with a neural tube defect, tit is recommended that you increase your daily amount of folic acid to 4000 mcg (same as 4 mg) each day. Check with your doctor about how much you should take.

    When taken before and during pregnancy, folic acid may also protect your baby against:

    Folic acid has also been suggested to reduce your risk of:

    Good Food Sources of Folic Acid

    Foods that can help you get more folic acid in your diet include:

    • 400 mcg: Breakfast cerealsfortified with 100% of the DV, 3/4 cup
    • 215 mcg: Beef liver, cooked, braised, 3 oz
    • 179 mcg: Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, 1/2 cup
    • 115 mcg: Spinach, frozen, cooked, boiled, 1/2 cup
    • 110 mcg: Egg noodles, enriched, cooked, 1/2 cup
    • 100 mcg: Breakfast cereals, fortified with 25% of the DV, 3/4 cup
    • 90 mcg: Great Northern beans, boiled, 1/2 cup

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 21, 2016
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