Folic acid (vitamin B9 or folate…all the same vitamin) was put in the grain supply in the U.S. and Canada in the late 20th century to stop spina bifida and other neural tube defects. It has almost done just that almost. Obesity still increases the risk of preventable neural tube defects, even if Mom is taking 400 mg of folate daily.
University of Toronto researchers studied women who gave birth between 1994 and late 2000: exactly the period in which folate supplementation in pregnancy became automatic, in breads, pastas, and wheat products.
The top quarter of Moms — those 22 to 88 pounds overweight, had a risk of up to 2.6 times higher than those who weighed the least.
Folate in flour did not seem to change the risk, and extra folate did not work as well in overweight women.
Each 10-kg (22 pound) increase in Mom’s weight was associated with a 20% increase in the risk for the often-fatal birth defect.
Overweight Moms-to-be need to be diligent about losing weight. Foods to eat before pregnancy include…