Study on Knowledge and Practice of Periconceptional Intake of Folic Acid among Antenatal Mothers at Saveetha Medical College Hospital, Tamil Nadu
Shanthi Ethirajan, Mangala Lakshmi Pritem
Folic acid, Nutritional supplements in pregnancy, Periconceptional period, Planned pregnancy, Prevention of neural tube defects
Citation Information :
Ethirajan S, Pritem ML. Study on Knowledge and Practice of Periconceptional Intake of Folic Acid among Antenatal Mothers at Saveetha Medical College Hospital, Tamil Nadu. Int J Infertil Fetal Med 2020; 11 (3):57-60.
Background: Neural tube defects (NTDs) are one of the common congenital malformations. Neural tube defects are preventable with folic acid (FA) supplementation periconceptionally. Knowledge about FA and its periconceptional intake among women of reproductive age, pregnant women, and healthcare providers is important for timely supplementation, thereby preventing NTDs.
Aim and objective: To assess the knowledge about FA and its benefits and their actual intake of FA periconceptionally among pregnant women at Saveetha Medical College and Hospital.
Study design: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted at Saveetha Medical College and Hospital in the year 2017.
Materials and methods: Two hundred pregnant women attending Antenatal Outpatient Department willing to participate in the study were interviewed with a structured questionnaire and responses were collected and analyzed.
Results: Among 200 pregnant women, 153 (76.5%) women had heard about FA and mostly from healthcare providers (94.7%). Sixty-one women (30.5%) and nine women (4.5%) were aware of the benefits of FA in neural development and anemia prevention, respectively. Nine (4.5%) were able to mention a diet rich in FA and 15 (7.5%) women knew the dose of FA. Only 32 women (16%) took FA periconceptionally, whereas 150 women (75%) took FA only after the diagnosis of pregnancy. Among them, 164 women took the tablets regularly. Eighteen women (9%) did not take FA during pregnancy. Out of 131 women (65.5%) who had planned pregnancy, only 48 women (36%) had taken periconceptional FA.
Conclusion: Awareness about FA and its importance of periconceptional intake is low among women in this population. The practice of periconceptional intake of FA is less which may be due to a lack of knowledge about the benefits of FA. Health education, awareness programs, planned pregnancy, and preiconceptional counseling can help in optimizing the periconceptional FA intake.
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