Folic acid, one of the B vitamins, is important for the normal
development of an unborn child (fetus). Folic acid and its closely related
compounds, folates, are needed for the production of red and white blood cells
and platelets, the formation of genetic material (DNA) in cells, and growth.
Only a small amount of folic acid is stored in the body. So
to avoid a deficiency, you must get folic acid regularly from the foods in
your diet. Folic acid is found in foods such as liver, kidney, yeast, fruits
(bananas, oranges), leafy vegetables (spinach), eggs, whole wheat bread, lima
beans, and milk.
Taking supplements of folic acid before and during pregnancy can
reduce the chance of having a baby with birth defects, such as spina bifida.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology