Folate is a water soluble B family vitamin (B9), which is needed for cell division and blood cell production. Pregnant women require increased quantities of folate. The form of this vitamin that occurs naturally in food is called folate. Folic acid is a corresponding synthetic vitamin that is found in vitamin and nutrition supplements and fortified foods.
Plentiful use of vegetables and whole grain cereal products guarantees a sufficient intake of folate.
Vegetables and whole grain cereal products contain folate. If you eat plenty of these foods, your diet provides you with sufficient quantities of folate. The folate intake of Finnish people is often inadequate. This is why using a folic acid supplement is recommended for women planning a pregnancy, as it prevents foetal neural tube defects. Women are advised to start taking a folic acid supplement about two months before they plan to get pregnant. You can continue to take it until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy.
The recommended intake of folate for pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy is 500 μg a day.