Introduction Neural tube defects complicate 1.5/1000 pregnancies.2 Is it almost 20 years since the Department of Health recommended that all women planning a pregnancy consume 400ug of folic acid pre-conceptually and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.2 This recommendation however requires a pre-conceptually compliant patient, as adequate folic acid is required at the time of embryogenesis.3 Previous studies have shown major failings in compliance with this recommendation.
Methods An anonymous questionnaire was given to women attending for their 20-week anomaly scan between November 2010 and February 2011 at York District Hospital. This asked about pre-conceptual and 1st trimester consumption of folic acid, awareness of pre-conceptual folic acid, source of information and reasons for not taking folic acid prophylaxis.
Results 300 questionnaires were handed out with 189 responses (63%). Prior to conception 63.49% of women had read information recommending folic acid prior to conception. Only 30.68% had received pre-conceptual advice from their GP with 44.44% receiving advice from friends and relatives. However, 59.26% and 88.36% of women did receive advice from their GP and midwives respectively following conception.
Only 47.01% of respondents took folic acid supplements pre-conceptually, however 75.13% stated they took regular folic acid in the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy.
In 21.69% unplanned pregnancy remained the major cause of not taking folic acid pre-conceptually.
Conclusion The uptake of pre-conceptual folic acid remains poor, with less than 50% of women complying with the National Guideline. Unplanned pregnancy remains to be a significant factor in this.
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