Folic Acid Quiz
Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain, known as anencephaly, and spine, known as spina bifida.
Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which parts of a baby’s brain and skull do not form correctly. Babies born with anencephaly cannot survive. Spina bifida is a serious birth defect in which a baby’s spine does not develop correctly and can result in some severe physical disabilities.
Women who can become pregnant need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) has made a significant contribution to neural tube defects prevention in the U.S. over the past two decades and led the way in establishing that every woman who can get pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily to prevent neural tube defects.
NCBDDD has a global initiative to significantly reduce infant death and lifelong disability resulting from the more than 300,000 neural tube defects that occur worldwide each year.
The initiative builds on CDC’s expertise and experience in neural tube defects prevention and aims to increase folic acid intake among women of reproductive age through fortification and other means. These efforts can help prevent approximately 150,000-210,000 neural tube defects each year in low- and middle-resource countries.
- Page last reviewed: January 7, 2013
- Page last updated: January 7, 2013
- Content source:
- Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs