OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the percentage of the women who call a teratology information service who take folic acid before conception. STUDY DESIGN: A pilot-tested questionnaire was used to survey women who called a teratology information service about their use of folic acid supplementation. Frequencies were generated by pregnancy status, age, race, and parity. RESULTS: Of the 693 pregnant callers, 42% of the women initiated folic acid use 6 weeks before pregnancy, 35% of the women initiated folic acid use during pregnancy. Thirty-seven percent of the total caller population reported taking folic acid. Forty-seven percent of pregnant white women versus 27% of pregnant black women reported preconceptional folic acid use (P = .005). Thirty-nine percent of pregnant women who were <30 years old reported preconceptional folic acid use versus 48% of women who were >30 years old (P = .018). CONCLUSION: Most pregnant women take folic acid; however, only a minority of them start before conception. The use of preconceptional folic acid, although higher than the national average of 30%, was still low. Many women start taking folic acid in their pregnancy after the neural tube is closed.
- Folic acid
- Neural tube defect