A deficiency of folic acid produces the same oversized red blood cells as a vitamin B12 deficiency. One of the most common causes of folic acid deficiency anaemia is simply not getting enough in the diet. Pregnant women are most at risk for folic acid anaemia because the need for folic acid increases by two-thirds during pregnancy. Adequate folic acid intake is essential from the start of pregnancy because it protects against spinal defects in the fetus. A woman should start consuming 400 mcg a day at least one month before she becomes pregnant and the entire time while she is pregnant.
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