We already know there are benefits to taking folid acid before and during early pregnancy -- it can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.
Here's one more reason to start popping the pills early: A long course of pre-pregnancy folic acid can significantly lower the risk of premature birth.
Although less than half of women of childbearing age take multivitamin supplements, the benefits are big.
New research shows that women who take a folate long before conception -- for a year before -- are half as likely to deliver before 32 weeks and 70% less likely to deliver before 28 weeks.
Preterm births -- before 37 full weeks of gestation -- account for about 13% of deliveries in the United States. The earlier the delivery, the higher the risk of complications at birth or as the child grows older.
If you're not pregnant, do you routinely pop a multivitamin or folic acid supplement?