Knowledge and use of folic acid in Croatian pregnant women--a need for health care education initiative.Reprod Toxicol. 2006 Jan; 21(1):16-20.RT
Adequate periconceptional folic acid (FA) intake reduces the risk of neural tube defects. There are still no official FA supplementation guidelines, FA fortification policies or larger studies of awareness regarding FA or number of planned pregnancies in Croatia. This study assesses the knowledge and practice regarding FA supplementation and reports the trends in pregnancy planning in Croatia. A total of 569 pregnant women completed an anonymous questionnaire and about 72% of them were aware of the benefits of FA. Despite 75.53% of planned pregnancies, only 14.41% of all women took FA appropriately. Croatian women get information about FA from the media, health professionals and friends, but 63.77% got this information too late. The present study showed low percentage of appropriate FA intake despite high number of planned pregnancies in Croatia. It emphasizes the need for immediate and continuous public health education initiative about FA intake targeted to the women of childbearing age before their pregnancies have occurred.