Folic acid. Preconception knowledge and use by infertile women

J Reprod Med. 2001 Dec;46(12):1025-30.


Objective: To assess knowledge of preconception folic acid intake (PFAI) and its use by infertile women and to compare it to results from a national survey of reproductive-age women.

Study design: New patients presenting to a reproductive medicine practice were surveyed regarding their knowledge and use of PFAI. Results were compared to those of a national survey of reproductive age women.

Results: Eighty-six women were surveyed. Infertile women were more aware of the benefits of PFAI than the control population (65% vs. 13%) and used it more frequently (52% vs. 29%). Although infertile women knowledgeable about PFAI were more likely to take folic acid (chi 2 = 24.90, P < .001), 30% of women who were aware of the benefits of PFAI did not take it.

Conclusion: Preconception folic acid knowledge and use were higher among infertility patients presenting to a reproductive medicine practice than in the general population. Nonetheless, in this highly motivated population, only half were taking folic acid, and knowledge alone did not ensure usage. To effectively decrease the incidence of neural tube defects, food fortification may be more effective than education focusing on vitamin supplementation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female*
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pregnancy


  • Folic Acid