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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.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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