Folate, or folic acid, is essential for the development of the baby’s spinal cord and spinal nerves. This vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects as well as congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies in developing fetuses. Deficiency in folic acid may increase the risk of preterm labor, fetal growth retardation and low birth weight. Deficiency may also increase the homocysteine level in the blood, which can lead to spontaneous abortion and pregnancy complications, such as placental abruption and preeclampsia. It is important to start getting enough folate in your diet at least 6 months before you are planning to conceive. Best Sources: Lentils, beans, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, organic papaya, and beets.