It is well known that periconceptional folic acid supplementation decreases the risk of neural tube defects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the attitudes and practices of women with planned pregnancies regarding periconceptional folic acid intake and to identify factors associated with the use of this supplement. During 2 years of observation, we surveyed women with planned pregnancies who called our Teratology Information Service. A total of 500 women were surveyed: 217 (43.4 %) took folic acid before becoming pregnant, and 283 (56.6 %) did not take it. The women who took folic acid before becoming pregnant had a high education level and received preconception counselling. Our results suggest that less than half of Italian women took folic acid before they became pregnant although they were trying to conceive. Knowledge about the benefits of this vitamin is inadequate also among women who planned the pregnancy and the level of information received from their physicians.
- folic acid
- preconception counselling