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A B vitamin necessary to prevent neural tube defects in babies, folic acid is still in short supply among women who may bear children. In the 15–44 age group, 75 percent of American women don’t get the recommended daily amount of 400–800 mcg, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts that recommends women take daily folic acid supplements. The critical period for supplementation starts at least one month before conception and continues through the first 2–3 months of pregnancy.