Journal of Basic and Clinical Reproductive Sciences

Journal of Basic and Clinical Reproductive Sciences
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Assessing Folic Acid Awareness and its Usage for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects Among Pregnant Women in Jos, Nigeria

Author(s): Anzaku AS

Background: In the precent study, firm evidences indicate that folic acid supplementation during the peri‑conceptional period reduces the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects. Aim: To ascertain the level of awareness about folic acid, its use during peri‑conceptional period and the predictive factors of folic acid awareness among pregnant women in our setting. Subjects and Methods: Confidential, anonymous questionnaires were administered to consecutive 543 pregnant women seeking routine antenatal care at Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos between January and June 2012. Questions included enquiry on their demographic features, obstetric history, pregnancy intention, awareness and intake of folic acid during the peri‑conceptional period, and knowledge of its natural sources. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression to identify predictive factors of folic acid awareness were then performed. Results: Out of 543 pregnant women surveyed, 64.6% (351/543) reported that they were aware of folic acid as a vitamin supplement. However, only 7.4% (26/351) consistently took the vitamin during the protective periconceptional period. The common sources of information about folic acid were health workers (68.5%) and the media (14.6%). Only 26.5% (93/351) of them could correctly identify a natural source of food rich in folic acid. Multivariate logistic regression showed that maternal age >30 years (P=0.01) and higher educational status (P=0.001) were predictive factors for folic acid awareness. Conclusion: Folic acid awareness as a vitamin supplement was relatively high among the women surveyed but its intake during peri‑conceptional period was worryingly low. Antenatal and Population health educational strategies and fortification of staple foods with folic acid may improve its intake among women of child‑bearing age in our setting.

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