Periconceptional folic acid use among women giving birth at Queen Mary Maternity Hospital in Dunedin

Isla Dobson, Celia Devenish, C. Murray Skeaff, Tim Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: The New Zealand Ministry of Health advises that all women planning a pregnancy take a folic acid supplement to reduce the risk of having a neural tube defect (NTD)-affected pregnancy. There is little information available to determine if women are following this advice. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine periconceptional folic acid use among women in the postnatal ward of Queen Mary Maternity Hospital in Dunedin. Methods: A questionnaire was administered to womenin the postnatal ward between 14 November and 22 December 2004. Results: One hundred and six women were interviewed during the study period. Forty women (39%) used folic acid supplements before conception. Sixty-seven women (64%) planned their pregnancy. The proportion of women (P < 0.001) who planned their pregnancy (53%) and used folic acid before conception was higher than those who did not (11%). The proportion of women ≥ 30 years of age (55%) who took folic acid supplements before conception was higher than women aged 17 to < 25 years (10%). Conclusion: Despite a lack of a public health campaign in New Zealand, a high proportion of participants, especially those who planned their pregnancy, took folic acid during the periconceptional period. A comprehensive public health campaign is needed to increase folic acid use. Fortification may be required to reach those women who do not plan their pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-537
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary supplements
  • Folic acid
  • Neural tube defect
  • Periconceptional
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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