13 Jan Women Who Can Become Pregnant Should Take Folic Acid
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, MS
Member,US Preventive Services Task Force
Professor of Pediatrics and Professor in Community Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
Duke University School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Neural tube defects, where the brain or spinal cord do not develop properly in a baby, can occur early in pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can help protect against neural tube defects. Most women do not get enough folic acid in their diets, so most clinicians recommend that any woman who could become pregnant take a daily folic acid supplement.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Folate and folic acid play an important role in the development of babies’ brains and spines. Unfortunately, most women do not get the recommended daily amount of folic acid (400 to 800 micrograms) from their diet alone. Because of this, the Task Force recommends that women who are capable of getting pregnant take a daily folic acid supplement to help prevent neural tube defects in a developing baby. This final recommendation reaffirms the Task Force’s 2016 draft and 2009 final recommendations.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: All women who could become pregnant should take a daily supplement containing 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects. Evidence shows that taking supplements into the second or third month of pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects, so it is never too late to start taking folic acid. As with all vitamins and supplements, the Task Force advises women to take only the recommended dose of folic acid.
MedicalResearch.com: MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: If you’re concerned you may be getting too much folate, or you have questions about how much folic acid to take, talk to your doctor.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Folic Acid Supplementation for the Prevention of Neural Tube DefectsUS Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2017;317(2):183-189. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19438
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