March of Dimes highlights folic acid for pregnant women

Organization announces Folic Acid Awareness Week

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The March of Dimes is launching a campaign to encourage expectant mothers to take folic acid to prevent birth defects, the group said Friday.

The group announced national Folic Acid Awareness Week, reminding pregnant women to take vitamin B. The vitamin is known to prevent birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly, collectively known as neural tube defects. NTDs occur in the first few weeks following conception, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

"All women of reproductive age should be taking a multivitamin containing folic acid every day," March of Dimes medical adviser and author of the group's new book "Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide," Siobhan Dolan said. "It's such an easy thing to do, and it can have such a major benefit to your future family. About half of pregnancies are unplanned, so take your folic acid daily and be sure to give your baby the healthiest start in life."

In the book, Dolan recommends taking 400 micrograms of folic acid before conceiving and up to 600-800 after.

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