Folic Acid Requirements During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend that you take a folic acid supplement in addition to eating a regular healthy diet.

Women who might get pregnant should get at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid a day. Experts recommend that women take a daily supplement that has 400 to 800 micrograms. footnote 1

Women who are pregnant should get 600 micrograms (0.6 mg) of folic acid a day. footnote 2

Women who follow these recommendations are less likely to have babies with certain birth defects, especially neural tube defects .

If a woman had a previous pregnancy with a neural tube defect, her doctor might recommend that she take a higher dose of folic acid during pregnancy.


  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. Available online:
  2. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2012). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, vitamins. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed. St Louis: Saunders.

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014