Folic Acid and Pregnancy

Each year, 300,000 babies are born with Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) worldwide*1. NTDs are brain and spinal cord developmental defects that happen during early fetal development. Most of these cases are preventable, and Folic Acid (FA) plays a critical role.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic Acid, or FA, is the synthetic form of Folate, the natural form of Vitamin B9. Folate is essential for cell production and growth, DNA formation, and supporting functions of the nervous and immune system. Folate is important for producing and maintaining red blood cells, so a deficiency can cause anemia. FA deficiency can also lead to a higher risk of depression, memory problems, fatigue and loss of appetite. Alcohol abuse, frequent use of antibiotics, diuretics and oral contraceptives, as well as poor diet and smoking can deplete the body’s folate stores. Although the human body needs folate, it cannot produce it and must receive it from foods and dietary supplements. Folate can be found naturally in dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, brussel sprouts and lettuce, as well as in lentils, oranges, milk and whole wheat bread.

What is Folic Acid’s role in pregnancy?

Folate is critically important during pregnancy as it reduces the risk of premature birth. It is also essential for spinal cord growth; a Folate deficiency could lead to severe fetal defects and complications, such as miscarriage or low birth weight. Due to its critical role in fetal development, FA is found in most prenatal vitamins or as a supplement by itself. It is recommended that pregnant women should consume folate-rich foods and take appropriate amounts of FA supplements under the direction of their physician.

What causes NTDs and what role does FA play?

FA is essential for neural tube development and closure, which happens by the 28th day of conception. The neural tube is a structure from which both the brain and the spinal cord will subsequently form. If neural tube fails to close, the embryo develops an NTD.

What are some common NTDs?

A common NTD of the brain is anencephaly, a serious birth defect in which part of the brain may be missing. Sadly, babies born with anencephaly do not survive past infancy. Spina Bifida is a birth defect in which the baby’s spinal column does not properly close during development, leaving the spinal cord exposed. Children with Spina Bifida have mobility and skin problems, and will need surgical interventions.

How can FA prevent NTDs?

To prevent NTDs from occurring, it is essential that pregnant women should take FA supplements during the first 4 weeks following conception when the brain and spine develop. Since a lot of women might not be aware of their pregnancy at that stage, it is recommended that all women who are planning to get pregnant take FA supplements. There are no side effects for taking FA for a lengthy period of time; in fact, research has shown that taking FA for at least 12 months before becoming pregnant could reduce the risk of premature birth by over 50%*2. Additionally, there is conclusive evidence that adequate consumption of FA during pregnancy can significantly reduce NTD occurrence. Studies have shown that 400μg of FA prevents the occurrence of over 50% of NTDs if it is taken before conception and throughout the first trimester of pregnancy*3. Several countries such as the United States, Canada, China and South Africa have launched a mandatory FA fortification of dietary foods such as staple cereal grains, bread, pasta and flour among others. A study examining the results of FDA-required fortification in the United States from 1995-2011 has reported that the birth prevalence of NTDs has decreased by 35% since FA fortification was introduced in 1998*4.

What is the recommended amount of FA supplement?

Several prominent health organizations, such as the CDC, recommend a daily amount of 400μgof FA to be consumed by pregnant women or women wishing to become pregnant. If there is a family history of a NTD, the recommended daily amount increases to 4000μg.

Always discuss with your healthcare provider the right supplements and dosage for you.


*1 Christianson A.L. et al. (2006) ‘Global report on birth defects: the hidden toll of dying and disabled children’. White Plains (NY): March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

*2 Callaway L., et al. (2009) ‘Folic Acid supplementation and spontaneous preterm birth: Adding grist to the mill?’
Plos Medicine 6(5): e10000077

*3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1992) ‘Recommendations for the use of folic acid to reduce the number of cases of Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects’. MMWR. 41: 1-8.

*4 CDC (2015) ‘Updated Estimates of Neural Tube Defects Prevented by Mandatory Folic Acid Fortification – United States, 1995-2011’. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 64(01); 1-5.

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NIPD Genetics - Privacy Policy

General Statement

This Privacy Policy applies only to and its subdomains (hereafter collectively referred to as “Sites") that link to this policy. NIPD Genetics Sites are owned by NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd and are operated by NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd and on occasion by a third-party that is responsible for the technical maintenance of the Sites.

If, you do not agree with this Privacy Policy, please do not access or use any of NIPD Genetics Sites.

NIPD Genetics values your interest in NIPD Genetics, its products and its services. NIPD Genetics takes the protection of your data seriously.

Personal data for purposes of this Privacy Policy, is any information by which you can be individually identified, including, but not limited to, your name, profession, address, e-mail address, and telephone number.

You may contact NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd at
NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd
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NIPD Genetics Data Protection Officer can be reached at

This Privacy Policy applies only to the Sites as defined above and which are operated by NIPD Genetics. The NIPD Genetics Privacy Policy seeks to inform the users of its Sites of the following:

NIPD Genetics will not use or share your information with anyone, except as described in this Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy does not apply to any information we might collect by other digital and offline means and or from other digital and offline sources. The use of information collected through our Sites shall be limited to the purposes under this Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use to customers.

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Sites and the choices you have associated with that data.

We use your data to provide and improve the Sites. By using the Sites, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from

Type of personal information NIPD Genetics may collect through its Sites

Information Collection And Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Sites and services to you.

Personal Data

While using NIPD Genetics Sites, you may be asked to provide NIPD Genetics certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you ("Personal Information"). Personal Information that might be used to identify you includes, but is not limited to:

If you send us a query via our Contact us form, your email address, the content and any follow up emails are retained indefinitely.

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We may also collect information how the Sites are accessed and used ("Usage Data"). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer's Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Sites that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

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We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Sites and hold certain information.

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Sites.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Sites.

Examples of Cookies we use:

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Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

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Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer. will take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your personal data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

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NIPD Genetics may disclose your personal data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

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The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

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We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate, maintain or operate our Sites ("Service Providers"), to provide the SItes on our behalf, to perform service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Sites is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


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You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.

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You have the right to review, update or delete any of your personal data by sending a request at NIPD Genetics Personal Data Officer

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Our Sites may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party's site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.

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Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 ("Children").

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

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We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the "effective date" at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

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