Ask Sofia: Should I only take folic acid while pregnant?
While many women recognize the importance of folic acid during pregnancy, it is actually a vital nutrient for growth and development that is recommended for women throughout their life span. This B vitamin helps prevent birth defects in babies and it also helps our bodies make new cells.
“Honestly, we all need folic acid!” said Dr. Deb Krahl. “Not only does it help prevent neural tube defects, but it may also impact everything from memory to brain function to bone density. We recommend that women continue to take a multivitamin with folic acid through pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum and even past menopause to support overall wellness.”
For pregnant women, 600 micrograms per day is recommended (most prenatal vitamins contain this as part of the multivitamin) while women who aren’t expecting should consume about 400 micrograms of folic acid.
Folate, the natural form of the vitamin which is easier to absorb, is found in foods such as nuts and seeds, beans, egg yolks, green vegetables and citrus fruits, while other foods like cereal, bread and pasta are often fortified with it.
“If you have questions about vitamins and supplements as well as what you need before, during and after pregnancy, we are always happy to help!” Dr. Krahl added. “A new year is a great time to focus on treating yourself right, and vitamins can be a part of your self-care regimen.”