Women of childbearing age (typically ages 11 to 49) need an extra 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. Folic acid is found in vitamins and foods like breakfast cereals that have 100% DV (Daily Value) of folic acid.
Why is folic acid important?
Everyone needs folic acid in their diet. Folic acid is especially important for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant.
It’s important to get enough folic acid, even when you aren’t planning to get pregnant. Folic acid is a vitamin that can prevent birth defects. It’s needed during the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
How can I get enough folic acid?
There are 2 easy ways to get enough folic acid every day:
- Take a vitamin with folic acid. You can take a small pill that has only folic acid or take a multivitamin. Vitamins and folic acid pills can be found at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
Talk with your doctor about folic acid.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your doctor can help you decide how much folic acid is right for you. You may need more folic acid if you have a health condition or are taking certain medicines.