Aim: In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the use of folic acid and associated factors among pregnant women as well as women of reproductive age who visit our hospital for medical examination.
Materials and Methods: A survey consisting of questions on folic acid use and sociodemographic data was applied to 665 patients of reproductive age (18-49 years of age) who admitted to Obstetrics, Gynecology and Family Health polyclinics between November and January 2013.
Results: %51.4 of the patients reported not visiting their doctor when considering pregnancy (before discontinuing birth control), 53.2% reported not using folic acid prior to pregnancy, 23.5% reported not using as no one recommended, 26.9% reported not using as they were not informed about the drug, 46.9% reported never having heard of folic acid, 17.4% reported not knowing whether folic acid is beneficial, 78.2% reported considering it beneficial, 38.3% reported knowing that it prevents disabilities of the infant, 48.6% reported not knowing what it is good for, 13% reported knowing that it's beneficial for the mother, 48.6% reported not knowing when to use it, 34.2% reported using upon recommendation by the general practitioner, 10.6% reported using upon recommendation by the obstetrician, 8.2% reported using recommendation by the midwife-nurse, 59.5% reported using various medicinal products during pregnancy, 29.5% reported using no medicinal products.
Conclusion: Considering that neural tube defects (NTD) incidence is relatively high in our country, it is thought that women of reproductive age lack adequate levels of information about NTD and folic acid use, and that even healthcare professional with good knowledge on the subject do not use high levels of folic acid during the period before pregnancy. The insufficient use of folic acid prior to pregnancy suggests that women of reproductive age should be informed about the folic acid in further detail. For this purpose, the first-line healthcare professionals -midwives, nurses and general practitioners- whom the patients make first contact should be trained to inform patients and these professionals should work with an attempt to raise awareness about the effect of folic acid in preventing NTD.
Folic acid, neural tube defects, pregnancy