Inadequate compliance with periconceptional folic acid supplementation in South Australia

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Dec;46(6):528-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2006.00654.x.


Background: Despite recommendations for women to take folic acid supplements, there has been little reduction in the number of neural tube defect cases occurring each year.

Aims: To assess the level of compliance of pregnant women to recommendations for folic acid supplementation in South Australia, and audit the labelled content in reported supplements used.

Methods: A survey was conducted from May to September 2005 with 304 pregnant women recruited from antenatal clinics at the Lyell McEwin Health Service, the Women's and Children's Hospital and the Modbury Hospital in Adelaide.

Results: Full compliance with supplementation recommendations for both timing and dose was achieved by 30% of women. Partial compliance was achieved by 43%, while 27% took no folic acid supplements.

Conclusions: There is currently poor compliance with folic acid supplementation around conception. Additional food fortification may better achieve an adequate daily level of folic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid* / administration & dosage
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Neural Tube Defects / epidemiology
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Preconception Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin B Complex* / administration & dosage


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Folic Acid