Published: 2022-04-27

Assessing the knowledge on periconceptional use of folic acid among women visiting a tertiary care hospital in South India

Hethyshi R., Noor Shazia Begum


Background: Periconceptional folic acid supplementation is an essential element for the prevention of neural tube defects. Neural tubes defects are congenital malformations affecting the brain and spinal cord associated with substantial mortality, morbidity, disability, and psychological impact. Mere awareness about its use and benefits can prevent a major proportion of these complications. Hence the present study is designed to assess the knowledge of use of periconceptional folic acid among women.

Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at Kempegowda institute of medical sciences, Bengaluru. 250 women attending the outpatient department, consenting to participate in the study were assessed about their knowledge on periconceptional use of folic acid by a self-designed questionnaire and the responses were analysed.

Results: Out of 250 women, 194 (77.6%) were aware of folic acid. Among the 194 women 151 (77.83%) had learnt about it only after the diagnosis of pregnancy. The major source of information were health care providers in 182 (93.8%) women. The knowledge that it prevented neural tube defects was known to 79 out of 194 women. However only 18 (9.27%) women took folic acid periconceptionally.

Conclusions: Among the study population the level of knowledge on periconceptional use of folic acid was low. The major source of information about the use of folic acid was from health care workers during early pregnancy. Periodic health education, awareness programs, periconceptional counselling at individual level can help in optimizing the intake and preventing the burden of neural tube defects.


Folic acid, Periconceptional period, Neural tube defect

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