The Role of Folic Acid in Pregnancy

I wrote the following post on my personal blog last year in college…. 

Today in my developmental psychology class,we talked about prenatal development. I love learning about developmental psychology in prenatal stages, and infant through adolescence stages. I love to know why babies and children think they way they think, what their thinking is caused by, why they do certain things, how they develop in different stages through their life, how environment, parenting styles, and nutrition play a roll in their lives, and  basically anything to do with infants and children. It’s something I’m passionate about it. To learn about it everyday, to be challenged by it and to see it in kids is something I yearn for. 

Today in class, during the lecture on prenatal development, the professor mentioned the role that folic acid plays in neural tube defects (NTD). 

He briefly mentioned it. This is the part where I took a stance on my soap box and began to talk.. 


The relationship between folic acid and NTD is very interesting to me. I only learned about it last year when I chose to use it as a topic for a paper/presentation I did. Please, if you’re a women, listen to what I have to say in the following paragraphs. 

If you decide to stop here, I’ll say just this: If you are a women of child bearing age and are having sex, you should be taking a folic acid supplement. Plain and simple. Even if becoming pregnant now is not in your so called perfect plan, you need to be taking it. I’ll explain why. 

Folic acid is a Vitamin that belongs in the B complex group. It plays an essential role in cell division. Folic acid helps in preventing NTD and spinia bifida by up to 70%. SEVENTY PERCENT. That’s huge. Neural tube defects occur 20 – 28 days after conception, which is before women even know they are pregnant. This is why it’s so important to take the supplements BEFORE you try to, or end up  becoming pregnant. More than 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you become pregnant and you haven’t been taking the folic acid supplements, by the time you find out you’re pregnant, it will most likely be too late to prevent NTD. 


Don’t wait until you decide to start trying to have a baby, or until you find out your pregnant to take vitamins, start now. Taking vitamins will do no harm, so why not? It will only help you. You do not need a prescription to get folic acid vitamins. Buy a prenatal vitamin and it should, (check the label) have 400 micrograms of folic acid or more. It’s not expensive. It’s a simple multivitamin that you take every morning or night. 

It is said in this report, published by the CDC, that  “even if a women is not planning a pregnancy and is using an effective method of birth control, she should take a vitamin supplement containing .4 milligrams, also written as 400 micrograms of folic acid daily in case a pregnancy occurs.” 

Seriously ladies, if you have the ability by any means to get pregnant, take a prenatal vitamin now, or just the folic acid supplements, however you wish. 

I got off my soap box. The professor said to the class while pointing at me, “If you take anything away from this class, or remember anything, remember that. ” 

It’s really that important.

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

One thought on “The Role of Folic Acid in Pregnancy

  1. I found your blog from Bring the Rain….I wished I knew about this before I got preggo with my daughter…She is 4 and was born with Spina Bifida, amazing the things they can do, she is doing really well…the doctors repaired her back & she also has a shunt, but is walking-running……..My prayer is that more people learn about it…what is scary is all the “young” teens they have no clue. Keep spreading the word!

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