Trends and predictors of folic acid awareness and periconceptional use in pregnant women

LTW de Jong-van den Berg*, S Hernandez-Diaz, MM Werler, C Louik, AA Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe recent trends in folic acid awareness and use in the periconceptional period among pregnant women in relation to maternal sociodemographic and other relevant factors.

Study design: From 1988 to 2002, 16,555 women from the Slone Epidemiology Center Birth Defects Study were interviewed about medication use before and during pregnancy (which included multivitamins and folic acid), about whether they were aware of any vitamins that might decrease the risk of birth defects. and about sociodemographic and medical factors.

Results: Awareness of folic acid benefits increased from 0 in 1988 to 50% in 1996 and thereafter. The use of folic acid in the periconceptional period increased from 15% in 1988 to 40% in the last few years. Maternal education was a strong independent predictor of both awareness and use. as were ethnicity.. whether the pregnancy was wanted. family income. and whether a health care. provider was consulted before planning.

Conclusion: Promoting the use of folic acid supplements, particularly among these disadvantaged groups is essential to further decrease the prevalence of neural tube defects. (C) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2005


  • folic acid
  • periconceptional use
  • awareness
  • pregnancy
  • predictor
  • RISK

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