Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Women Need a Folic Acid Fix


Over the six-year monitoring period, the researchers found that the number of women taking folic acid around the time of conception and during pregnancy increased dramatically. Similarly, the number of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects decreased significantly.

The March of Dimes recommends that a woman capable of becoming pregnant consume 400 micrograms of folic acid from foods or supplements daily.

According to expert Satty Gill Keswani, MD, folic acid can be found in some foods, such as green leafy vegetables, but most Americans eat too much frozen and processed foods to get enough of it from diet alone. She recommends that everyone eat more unprocessed vegetables, but that women who are or planning to become pregnant need the extra boost folic acid supplements provide. These women should see their doctor, who can perform blood tests that will tell just how much folic acid, as well as other vitamins and minerals, they need to take. Keswani is a reproductive endocrinologist at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., and director of the Livingston Fertility Center.

"Folic acid appears to be an important vitamin that can prevent a certain proportion of birth defects," says expert Alasdair G. W. Hunter, who studies pediatrics and practices as a medical geneticist. Although the major impact is on the neural tube defects, he adds, "it may decrease the rates of certain other malformations." He also says folic acid may play an important role in other aspects of health, such as heart disease, although this remains to be confirmed in studies. Hunter is medical director of the Eastern Ontario Genetics Program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

1 | 2

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy