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PMM.04 Women’s awareness of periconceptional use of folic acid before and after their antenatal visits
  1. M Maher1,
  2. R Keriakos2
  1. 1King’s College London, London, UK
  2. 2Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK


This is a prospective survey performed in a large teaching hospital in the UK. The aim of the study is to assess the awareness amongst women of the benefit and use of folic acid during pregnancy and whether their knowledge improved following hospital visits. A total of 603 women participated in the study; some attending for the first time and others had more than one visit, either in their current or previous pregnancies. The survey consisted of 28 questions regarding demographic variables, including behavioural variables, and knowledge about folic acid and neural tube defects. In around 25% of cases the pregnancy was unplanned. Between 14–19% of the women that did plan their pregnancy consulted their doctor or other health care professional before conception. Nearly 98% of the women stated having heard of folic acid, however, only 42–52% knew the medical condition it protects against. The main sources of information in women who were aware of folic acid were midwives and GPs. Nearly 90% of women who attended their first antenatal visit were taking folic acid. However, only 40% knew that they should take it before pregnancy. Only between 36–46% of women knew the dietary sources of folic acid, although about 84% knew the foods that should be avoided during pregnancy. This study found that attending antenatal clinic hasn’t increased women’s awareness about folic acid.

This study highlighted the importance of school education, Primary Care Team and Family Planning service in providing information to women about folic acid.

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