We hear a lot about folic acid during pregnancy. The benefits your fetus gains from the vitamin is enough to swallow horse pills, ergh, prenatal vitamins, even if they make you even more nauseous than morning sickness. But for Brooklyn mama Stacy Rauen, co-founder of the soon-to-launch Bump Water (coming this November!), enough was enough. “I was drinking sparkling water like a camel, and so my husband, Jon, started researching if there was an easier way — like a water — to get the vitamins, especially folic acid, that I needed. We looked and there wasn’t; or if a water had the right vitamins, it had something else in it (caffeine, high sugar) that wasn’t good for pregnant women,” says Rauen.

Rauen and her husband partnered with a couple friend — Spencer and Amber Wilcox — and worked with beverage experts with a mission to bring their idea to life. The result is basically a prenatal vitamin in a water that’s low in sugar and calories (10 for the Stevia-sweetened versions or 90-100 calories thanks to organic cane sugar), offered in sparkling and flat. “When you are pregnant, you need to drink more water and take multiple vitamins, especially folic acid. So we hope we have created a win-win for everyone,” says Rauen.

Here Rauen tells us everything you need to know about folic acid. Drink up!

What is folic acid?

It is a B vitamin that plays a key role in the development of red blood cells and your baby’s brain and spinal cord.

Why is it important during pregnancy?

Research shows that folic acid is an essential part of healthy fetal development — before and during pregnancy — by preventing major birth defects, namely neural tube defects. (Neural tube defects refer to those of baby’s brain, spine, and spinal cord.) Recent studies also show a link between folic acid deficiency in mothers who have conceived and autism.

When should a pregnant woman start taking it?

The majority of these defects occur at the very beginning of pregnancy, usually within the first month, sometimes before a woman knows she is pregnant. (It doesn’t help that half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are not planned!) Taking the recommended daily dose of folic acid before conception (most doctors recommend at least a month before, if not earlier) and throughout your pregnancy helps prevent these defects. In fact, all people need folic acid for good health, especially older adults.

How much should you take? Can you take too much of it?

The general rule (aka the recommended daily allowance) is 400 micrograms as part of your daily diet for women of childbearing age (yes, even if you aren’t planning on becoming pregnant), but that number changes as women and their bumps grow (it’s also recommended while breastfeeding). Some doctors will suggest even more, upwards of 800-1,000 micrograms. If you take too much, it is water soluble and is excreted in your urine.

Can you find it in any foods?

Some foods — leafy vegetables, fruits, beans — contain the natural form of folic acid (folate), but since the body doesn’t use the natural form as easily as the manmade form (folic acid), it’s essential for women to get folic acid in a vitamin or a liquid product containing it (like Bump Water).

Can pregnant women drink Bump Water and ingest a multi-vitamin at the same time?

Yes. The vitamins in Bump Water are all water-soluble, so to the extent that exceeds the recommended daily allowance, they will be passed through you harmlessly. Additionally, it’s a low sugar, all natural, great tasting water.

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