Background and objective: Since 1992, the recommendation on the ingestion of folic acid (FA) to prevent congenital defects has become general in developed countries. In this paper, we analyze such a situation in Spain in most recent years.
Patients and method: We used the information concerning mothers of infants selected as controls in the ECEMC database. These mothers make up a sample of pregnant women of the general population. We analyzed the evolution of the consumption of FA/calcic folinate (CF) by pregnant women over the last 22 years, considering the period of pregnancy during which this vitamin was taken and the dosage.
Results: The proportion of women who take FA/CF during the first trimester of pregnancy increased dramatically in the last 9 years, up to 80% in 2002. However, only about 9% took the vitamin before becoming pregnant. Moreover, many daily doses are much higher than those internationally recommended for the general population of women planning pregnancy.
Conclusions: In our country, the use of FA/CF to prevent congenital defects is correct in a small part of the population of pregnant women. Therefore, it is necessary to continue disseminating appropriate guidelines not only among gynecologists but also among family and general practitioners and health professionals working at family planning centers. Thus, they can transmit to women the need of using FA/CF and the right way to do it.