During pregnancy, or even before if you are trying to conceive, you should take a prenatal vitamin or supplement with folate or folic acid. Folate is water-soluble, so it does not remain in your system for long, and this is why you need to replenish your supply through your diet constantly. Although folate deficiencies are rare, folate is essential when pregnant because it helps prevent neural tube defects. Folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably, but they are not identical. This episode answers a question about the differences between folate and folic acid and which one is better.