Preventing Birth Defects

What you eat before and during pregnancy can prevent birth defects.


  • If you’re planning a pregnancy, begin healthy behaviors now!
  • See your doctor or health care provider early.
  • Stop smoking!
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Eat a healthy diet including vitamin B (folic acid).
  • Use prenatal vitamins or multivitamins with folic acid.
  • Eat food with folic acid, such as orange juice, green leafy vegetables, beans, fortified cereals and enriched grain products.
  • Recommended intake of folic acid is 400 micrograms each day. (Do not exceed 1,000 micrograms per day.)


Most pregnancies are unplanned. Start now by taking folic acid every day.