Pregnancy planning: a determinant of folic acid supplements use for the primary prevention of neural tube defects.Can J Public Health 2002 Jul-Aug; 93(4):259-63CJ
Daily consumption of supplements containing 400 micrograms of folic acid in the periconception period may reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) by as much as 70%. However, despite explicit recommendations, folic acid consumption among women likely to become pregnant remains low. The objectives of this study were: to evaluate women's knowledge and beliefs with regard to folic acid; to estimate the frequency of vitamin supplement consumption; and to identify its determinants during the periconception period.
In 1999-2000, a questionnaire was completed by 1,240 pregnant women in 10 Quebec hospitals.
Seventy percent of the respondents were aware of the preventive role of folic acid but only 25% had taken the recommended dose of supplements during the periconception period. Supplement consumption is associated with the pregnancy planning intensity score (OR: 1.06; 95% CI: 1.02-1.11), knowledge score (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.07-1.16) and belief in the usefulness of supplements (OR: 1.56; 95% CI: 1.02-2.39).
These results indicate that further efforts are needed to inform the population and promote the optimal use of folic acid supplements.