Folic acid, or folate, is an important B vitamin for the health of your unborn baby. It helps to prevent certain malformations of the brain, skull and spine called neural tube defects. Neural tube defects include spina bifida and anencephaly.
It is important for all women who could become pregnant to take folic acid. You should take folic acid daily even if you are not pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
Neural tube defects happen in the first four weeks of pregnancy. You may not know you are pregnant when your baby is most at risk. Since pregnancy is often unplanned, taking a daily folic acid supplement is an important precaution.