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Starting a family is a life-changing milestone. For women who are planning, providers recommended taking prenatal vitamins or a folic acid supplement before trying to conceive to help prevent birth defects. Folic acid has been proven to significantly reduce the risk for neural tube defects, one of the most common forms of birth defects in the United States. About half of all pregnancies are unplanned, so if there is any chance that you may get pregnant in the near future, starting to routinely take supplements is a great way to prepare yourself, just in case.
By consuming proper amounts of folic acid prior to and during pregnancy, women can help prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which are extremely serious, and sometimes life-threatening, health conditions. Folate occurs naturally in foods such as spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, and broccoli. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, and often available in supplement form, such as prenatal vitamins. You can also find it in foods that are often fortified with it, such as certain cereals, pastas, and grains.
To give yourself the best chance for…
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