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Folate is essential for healthy cell growth and development. Thus, it is especially important that women of childbearing age get sufficient amounts of this B vitamin. Inadequate folate intake increases the risk of “neural tube birth defects,” which involve the brain, spine, or spinal cord. One of the most common neural tube defects is “spina bifida,” in which the spinal column does not close completely and there is usually some nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs. Fortunately, the risk of giving birth to a child with spina bifida and other neural tube defects can be greatly reduced by getting sufficient amounts of folate (at least 400 micrograms) daily, both before and during pregnancy.

Some research suggests that folic acid may help lower your baby’s risk of other defects too, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain types of heart defects. At LADIES FIRST OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY OF DOTHAN, we offer expectant mothers advanced prenatal and obstetrical care. Please call (334) 671-9445 to schedule an appointment. We provide confidential and affordable treatment to both new and established patients at our offices located in Dothan, Ozark, & Enterprise. “Excellence in Caring For Women”

P.S. “Folic acid” is the synthetic form of folate found in supplements (including prenatal vitamins).