Folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects in babies before they are born.
Health Canada recommends that all women who could become pregnant and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should take a multivitamin supplement containing 0.4 mg of folic acid every day.
During pregnancy, folic acid helps a baby’s spine, brain and skull develop properly. A neural tube defect happens when a baby’s brain and spinal cord do not develop normally in the first weeks of pregnancy. This is a serious birth defect that can cause lifelong physical problems.
Neural tube defects can happen before a woman knows she is pregnant so it’s important to take folic acid before becoming pregnant.