Though doctors now routinely recommend folic acid supplements and folic acid-rich foods to pregnant women, its role in supporting a healthy pregnancy wasn’t recognized until the mid-1960s. But there are benefits to having folic acid foods before pregnancy. By the early 1990s, the connection between folic acid and fetal development was so well-established, the CDC started recommending that all women of child-bearing age consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration went a step further and started requiring that folic acid be added to enriched grain products, like pasta, rice, and cereal.
That’s how crucial folic acid is for pregnancy and fetal development. Health professionals recommend that foods high in folic acid are eaten regularly beginning up to a year prior to conception. Many would-be parents treat this as a minor dietary diversion, plucking a bit more