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Preconception health refers to the health of men and women during their reproductive years and focuses on taking steps now to protect the health of a baby in the future. However, preconception health is important for all women and men, whether or not they plan to have a baby one day.

Folic acid is a vitamin that is essential throughout the lifespan but especially during pregnancy. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Women need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.