UBDN – Folic Acid Awareness

Office of Children with Special Health Care Needs


Folic acid is a B-vitamin that can prevent up to 70% of neural tube defects if taken before and during early pregnancy.


Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that helps the body develop. Folate is naturally found in foods such as leafy greens, beans, and citrus fruits. Folic acid is man-made and can be found in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. Although folate is naturally found in foods, past studies showed women were still not receiving enough daily amounts of folate to effectively reduce their risk for neural tube defects. In 1998, through the efforts of the birth defects community, folic acid became readily available through vitamins and fortification of foods such as bread, cereal, and pasta. Since then, rates of neural tube defects have decreased across the United States. The UBDN supports the national recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Preventive Service Task Force to encourage women to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid once a day before, during, and after pregnancy to reduce their risk of having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect. Since neural tube defects can occur before most women realize they are pregnant, it is important to incorporate folic acid use into every day.

Know the Facts

Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Women need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

Facts About Neural Tube Defects
Information on neural tube defects which are severe birth defects of the brain and spine.

MTHFR Gene, Folic Acid, and Preventing Neural Tube Defects | CDC
Did results from a genetic test tell you that you have a methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene variant? You may have questions about what this means for your health, especially when it comes to your body’s ability to produce folate.

Understanding the product label
How to read a vitamin product label to see how much folic acid is in a vitamin supplement and more.


Power Your Life (utah.gov)
Website for women, couples and families, including a program for free vitamins for Arizona women

MotherToBaby Utah provides valuable information to women who are pregnant, considering becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding as well as to healthcare providers.

Maternal and Infant Health Program (MIHP)
The Maternal and Infant Health Program works to improve women’s health before, during, and after pregnancy and improve infant health through education, surveillance, and supporting programs and healthcare systems.

Baby Your Baby
Baby Your Baby is a temporary medical coverage (Medicaid) for low-income, pregnant women who qualify, covering pregnancy-related outpatient services.

CDC Preconception Health and Health Care
Preconception health and health care focuses on taking steps now to protect the health of a baby in the future.

National Birth Defects Prevention Network
Join the National Birth Defects Prevention Network to promote National Folic Acid Awareness Week.

Other Info

Utah Birth Defect Network Program
The Utah Birth Defect Network seeks to prevent birth defects and secondary disabilities by monitoring occurrence, referring to services, facilitating research, and providing education and outreach.

MotherToBaby – Folic Acid Factsheet
This sheet talks about exposure to folic acid in a pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider.

Good Neighbor Pharmacy - Free Vitamin Program (select areas of Utah)
Check with your local pharmacy for availability. Vitamin offering may vary per participating pharmacy.

Contact us


195 North 1950 West
PO Box 144610
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4610

Phone & Fax:

Phone: phone number (866) 818-7096
Fax: phone number (801) 323-1578
Monday thru Friday - 8:00 am to 5:00 pm