Women’s awareness and periconceptional use of folic acid: data from a large European survey
Johannes Bitzer,1 Ariane von Stenglin,2 Ralf Bannemerschult3
1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Women’s Hospital of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 2Global Market Research, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Berlin, Germany; 3Women’s Healthcare Medical Affairs and Pharmacovigilance Region Europe, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Berlin, Germany
Objective: To investigate the awareness and use of folic acid in European women of child-bearing age, particularly in the setting of pregnancy and pregnancy planning.
Methods: Between November 2009 and December 2009, women aged 15–49 years old from 18 European countries completed a 30-minute structured questionnaire either online or via face-to-face interviews. To achieve nationally representative samples for each country quotas were set for age, education, income, and regional distribution.
Results: A total of 22,925 women participated in the survey. Of the respondents, 58% had at least one biological child, and of these 38% reported that their first pregnancy was not planned. Nearly 60% of women who planned their pregnancy indicated that they had stopped using their method of contraception without first consulting a doctor or another health care professional. Overall, 70% reported that they had heard of folic acid and 40% stated that they knew the benefits of folic acid. However, when prompted to indicate which diseases and/or birth defects folic acid can protect against, only 17% knew that folic acid can reduce the risk of neural tube defects/spina bifida.
Conclusions: A large proportion of European women of child-bearing age in this survey were unaware that periconceptional folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of birth defects.
Keywords: folic acid supplementation, neural tube defects, pregnancy, women, periconceptional period, survey
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]