Doctors in the US are once again highlighting the importance of folic acid among pregnant women and those trying to conceive.
Specialists are calling for the artificial version of folate, a B vitamin, to be added to more foods to ensure mums-to-be get enough of it.
Found naturally in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit and dried beans, the vitamin helps fight spina bifida and related abnormalities.
And recent research shows it may also prevent premature birth and heart defects.
The Department of Health advises that women take a daily supplement of 0.4mg of folic acid while they are trying to conceive.
It also states that they should carry on taking this dose for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the baby’s spine is developing.
In the UK, many breakfast cereals and spreads are already fortified with folic acid although some doctors argue it should be compulsory to add the supplement to bread and flour.
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