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Home > Health Topics > Female Reproductive System > Did You Know...?

Did You Know...?

Q: Why are folic acid and iron so important during pregnancy?


A: Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that is important for pregnant women. Before pregnancy and during pregnancy, you need 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine, called neural-tube defects. Current dietary guidelines recommend that pregnant women get at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily from all sources. It may be hard to get the recommended amount of folic acid from food alone. For this reason, all pregnant women and all women who may become pregnant should take a daily vitamin supplement that contains folic acid.


Iron is used by your body to make a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your organs and tissues. During pregnancy, you need extra iron — about double the amount that a non-pregnant woman needs. This extra iron helps your body make more blood to supply oxygen to your baby. The daily recommended dose of iron during pregnancy is 27 mg, which is found in most prenatal vitamin supplements. You also can eat iron-rich foods, including lean red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereals and prune juice.

 

 

—Source: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Good Neighbor Pharmacy Health Connection, October 2015

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