Pregnancy planning

A determinant of folic acid supplements use for the primary prevention of neural tube defects

Pascale Morin, Philippe De Wals, Denise St-Cyr-Tribble, Théophile Niyonsenga, Hélène Payette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Daily consumption of supplements containing 400 μg 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. Methods: In 1999-2000, a questionnaire was completed by 1,240 pregnant women in 10 Quebec hospitals. Results: 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% Cl: 1.02 - 1.11), knowledge score (OR: 1.11; 95% Cl: 1.07 - 1.16) and belief in the usefulness of supplements (OR: 1.56; 95% Cl: 1.02 - 2.39). Conclusion: These results indicate that further efforts are needed to inform the population and promote the optimal use of folic acid supplements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-263
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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