A new, very large study in Norway has found that women who start taking folic acid four weeks before conceiving and during the first eight weeks of pregnancy are around 40% less likely to have a child who develops an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Past research has linked folic acid to decreased autism risks, but this study, which included an impressive 85,000 women, is by far the largest study ever of its kind. Even if you aren’t concerned about autism, you need to take folic acid if you’re thinking about becoming pregnant. Actually, because more than 50% of all pregnancies in the USA are unplanned, you should really take folic acid if you’re of child-bearing age, even if you’re not planning to get pregnant. Folic acid has been proven to help prevent some incredibly terrible birth defects of a baby’s brain or spine, can reduce premature births by 50% and may even improve toddler behavior! All women of child-bearing age should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. If you’re not sure where to get folic acid, check out the CDC’s folic acid tip page, which shares the many foods that contain vital folic acid. Need more tips about folic acid? Test your folic IQ today.
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