During early development, folic acid helps form the neural tube. Folic acid is very important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).
Folate is a B vitamin that occurs naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, and beans. Folic acid is man-made (synthetic) folate. It is found in supplements and added to fortified foods.