This week is National Folic Acid Awareness Week and a great time to start taking a multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.   So, whether or not you’re planning to have a baby this year, you can start the New Year with healthy habits that will help give a baby a healthy start in life.

 Folic acid is a B vitamin.  Our bodies use it to make new cells. Taking folic acid is an important way to reduce the risk of major birth defects of the brain and spine called, neural tube defects.  Folic acid can reduce neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly by up to 70%.  Data from our Birth Defects Monitoring Program shows that about 50 babies are born with neural tube defects in Arizona each year… and Hispanic women are more likely to give birth to a baby affected by spina bifida than women of all races and ethnicities. 

So, take your multivitamin, and remind the women in your life to take a multivitamin with folic acid daily.  For more information, check out our Bureau of Nutrition & Physical Activity website.