USPSTF to Pregnant Women: Take Folic Acid to Prevent Neural Tube Defects

JANUARY 11, 2017
Colleen Hall

In a statement released this week, the US Preventive Services Task Force made an A recommendation that all women who are planning or able to become pregnant take a daily supplement containing 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid.1 

Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can help protect babies against neural tube defects, according to the recommendation. The statement also notes that the critical period when folic acid supplements provide the most protective benefits begins 1 month before becoming pregnant and continues through the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Folic acid is found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, but most women do not get the recommended dose of 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid per day through diet alone, according to the statement.

“The Task Force found convincing evidence that the risk of neural tube defects can be reduced when women take a daily folic acid supplement of 400 to 800 micrograms,” says Task Force member Alex R. Kemper, MD, MPH, MS. “These supplements can be taken as a daily multivitamin, prenatal vitamin, or single tablet that has the recommended amount of folic acid.”

1.  USPSTF. 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.



Become A RESPIMAT T.O.P. Performer 

Get to know RESPIMAT, the slow-moving mist inhaler from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Watch the RESPIMAT video and test your knowledge with a short multiple-choice quiz. When you get all the answers right, you’ll receive a certificate naming you a RESPIMAT T.O.P. Performer. Why not check it out today?

Pharmacy Times Strategic Alliance

Pharmacist Education
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs

Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards

3rd Annual Convenient Healthcare and Pharmacy Collaborative Conference

Personalize the information you receive by selecting targeted content and special offers.