Folic acid supplement use in the prevention of neural tube defects.Ir Med J 2011; 104(1):12-5IM
In 2008, planned folic acid fortification for the prevention of Neural Tube Defects (NTD) was postponed. Concurrently, the economic recession may have affected dietary folic acid intake, placing increased emphasis on supplement use. This study examined folic acid supplement use in 2009. A cross-sectional survey of 300 ante-natal women was undertaken to assess folic acid knowledge and use. Associations between demographic, obstetric variables and folic acid knowledge and use were examined. A majority, 284/297 (96%), had heard of folic acid, and 178/297 (60%) knew that it could prevent NTD. Most, 270/297 (91%) had taken it during their pregnancy, but only 107/297 (36%) had used it periconceptionally. Being older, married, planned pregnancy and better socioeconomic status were associated with periconceptional use. Periconceptional folic acid use in 2009 was very low, little changed from economic status were associated with periconceptional use. Periconceptional folic acid use in 2009 was very low, little changed from earlier years. Continuous promotion efforts are necessary. Close monitoring of folic acid intake and NTD rates is essential, particularly in the absence of fortification.