Folic Acid for the Prevention of Fetal Neural Tube Defects
The use of folic acid supplements before and during the first three months of pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of fetal neural tube defects (NTDs). This study assessed knowledge and factors that influence the use of folic acid, the actual use of folic acid and its relationship with socio-demographic factors among women of childbearing age in the Ife Central Local Government, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. A cross-sectional descriptive design was adopted to select 400 women of childbearing age who participated in the study using a self-structured questionnaire. Results from this study showed that 39.8 per cent of the study participants had good knowledge about the benefits of folic acid, 64.6 per cent of the participants reported to have used folic acid at one time in their lives, while 55.5 per cent of them reported not to have taken folic acid before their pregnancy. This study also revealed a significant association between the respondents’ socio-demographic factors and the use of folic acid with a p-value of .000 (p-value < 0.05). The study concluded that knowledge about the use of folic acid for the prevention of NTDs among women of childbearing age is not adequate and that very few of them used folic acid at the appropriate time.