Studies have shown that up to 70% of all neural tube birth defects (NTDs) can be prevented when women capable of becoming pregnant consume 400 μg of folic acid prior to conception. All California women of reproductive age should take a supplement with 400μg of folic acid daily or consume a breakfast cereal fortified with 100% of the recommended daily value of folic acid to prevent serious birth defects. For more information, visit
CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) folic acid resources .
According to data from the 2013-2015 Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA) survey only one in three women giving birth (33.8%) reported daily folic acid intake the month before pregnancy. These data show significant racial/ethnic disparities. Daily folic acid use the month before pregnancy was 24.7% for Black women, 26.0% for Hispanic women, 42.1% for White women, and 45.9% for Asian /Pacific Islander women.
California Department of Public Health Folic Acid Materials
We urge you to order Folic Acid: Every Woman, Every Day pamphlets and posters developed by the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division. The pamphlet and poster recommend taking a supplement with 400μg of folic acid daily or consuming a breakfast cereal fortified with 100% of the recommended daily value of folic acid (400μg) to prevent serious birth defects. They are available in both English or Spanish. The messages in the pamphlets and posters are for all women of reproductive age. These materials can be used to help increase awareness of the role folic acid can play in reducing the risk of a pregnant woman having a baby with a serious birth defect.