Awareness of the benefits of folic acid and prevalence of the use of folic acid supplements to prevent neural tube defects among Thai women

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ObjectiveTo determine the level of knowledge about the usefulness of periconceptional folic acid supplementation among pregnant women.Materials and methodsAn anonymous questionnaire was completed by selected subjects to assess folic acid awareness. The questionnaire was administered to pregnant women who were seeking antenatal care at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital May to December 2005. The questions covered their knowledge and use of folic acid supplements, pregnancy intention, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.ResultsOut of 401 women surveyed, 76.1% of them reported that they had heard of folate. Of these, only 24.4% of the total subjects knew that folate was something important. Overall, 9.7% of the total women took folic acid during periconceptional period. The most common information sources on folate were the media. Logistic regression analysis showed that education of mother was the strongest predictor of having taken folic acid during the correct period.ConclusionAlthough some pregnant women are aware of the need to take folic acid, the actual impact of the present recommendations is almost negligible. Information to specifically inform patients about the need to take folic acid to prevent neural tube defects by medias and healthcare personnel seem to improve the final intake of folic acid during the protective period.

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