Despite public health campaigns, many women of childbearing age are unaware that folic acid supplements can prevent some types of birth defects. More than 65% of new mothers recently surveyed by Loyola University researchers were unaware of folic acid's role in preventing birth defects such as spina bifida. Seventy-five percent of those who were aware of folic acid's benefits also knew that folic acid supplementation is linked to the prevention of spina bifida. However, only 16% took vitamins within the first 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy. The researchers found that more than 90% of the study population used prenatal vitamins, although very few used the vitamins during the first month of pregnancy.
COMMENT: It is absolutely amazing how long it takes for information to penetrate society. Even when the traditional medical community acknowledges and actively acknowledges the problem it takes enormously long for the information to be learned by the general population, both physicians and lay people. However, nutritionally literate people can certainly benefit from this knowledge now by making sure all pregnant women are on a folic acid supplement. Ideally, all women considering getting pregnant should be taking folic acid.