I don’t want to get pregnant right now. But should I still take folic acid every day?

Experts recommend that all women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. Even women with very little chance of getting pregnant should get their daily dose of folic acid. This is because many pregnancies are not planned. Often women don’t know they are pregnant for a number of weeks. And some birth defects happen during this very early part of pregnancy.

Taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day will help prevent some birth defects that happen in early pregnancy. If a woman doesn’t start taking vitamins until the second or third month of pregnancy, it may be too late to prevent birth defects. Folic acid may also have other health benefits for women.