How can I pick a prenatal vitamin for me and my baby? How much folic acid should I take?
Prenatal vitamins usually have more calcium, iron and folic acid (vitamin
B9) than other vitamins. It's usually best to decide with your obstetrician or doctor whether
to take a prescription or over-the-counter prenatal vitamin. Although you should use a prenatal
vitamin that addresses any existing vitamin deficiency you have so you can get the daily
allowance of all vitamins during pregnancy.
Women of child-bearing years throughout pregnancy need a minimum of 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid a day. This dosage is recommended to prevent neural tube (brain and spine) defects in the fetus. Women taking certain anticonvulsants or a history of neural tube defect complications during pregnancy need to take 4 mg of prenatal vitamins a day starting one month and before through the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, if not the entire pregnancy.