LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed changes to food and nutrition labels.
The FDA said it wants to give a better understanding of nutrition science, update serving sizes and give the Nutrition Facts label a new design.
The changes could change how folic acid, a type of vitamin B, is labeled. The FDA proposal would make it unclear how much folic acid is in conventional foods and supplements.
According to NationalPartnership.org, the March of Dimes argued the FDA's proposed changes would 'fall short of the U.S. Public Health Service recommendations of 400 micrograms of folic acid, or synthetic folate, per day.'
While The March of Dimes is encouraging the FDA to reconsider the labeling changes, the New Mexico Chapter of the organization bringing awareness to the intake of folic acid.
Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, like spina bifida, while babies are inside
Dr. Catherine Kemmer of Women's Medical Associates in Las Cruces said the first four weeks of a pregnancy are crucial.
At times, women who are four weeks pregnant may not know they are carrying a child, that is why Dr. Kemmer said all women should take folic acid supplements.
"We want to educate them so they will realize the importance of folic acid before they get pregnant."
The recommended amount of folic intake is 400 to 800 micrograms per day. Prenatal vitamins that can be found at local drug stores contain the recommended amount.
"They (prenatal vitamins) are readily available to all women and come in generic forms," said Dr. Kemmer. The cost is roughly five dollars per containers of vitamins.
Below are some of the foods that contain folic acid:
Leafy, dark green vegetables
Legumes (dried beans and peas)
Citrus fruits and juices
More than 200 women in Dona Ana County have participated in the March of Dimes' initiative to educate women about folic acid.