Folic acid usage and its associated factors among antenatal attendees in a tertiary health facility: Implications for child health

Submitted: January 29, 2020
Accepted: June 9, 2020
Published: September 4, 2020
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Globally, an estimated two billion people are affected by deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals, notably folic acid, which negatively impacts on health and economic development. Maternal folate deficiency is associated with neural tube defects. Thus, getting enough folic acid is important for the rapid cell growth of the placenta and the developing fetus. The objective of this study is to assess the practice of folic acid and its associated factors among pregnant women in University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH). A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among 400 pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic at UBTH, selected using a systematic sampling technique. Data was obtained using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire and analyzed with IBM SPSS version 21.0 software. The level of significance was set at P<0.05. The mean age of the respondents was 28.7 (4.2) years. Majority 348 (87.0%) of the respondents had a good practice score of folic acid usage. The factors associated with the practice of folic acid were age (P<0.01), socioeconomic status (P<0.01), and parity, (P<0.01). The determinants of folic acid intake were spouse’s level of education (P<0.001), and planned pregnancy (P<0.001). The majority of the respondents had a good practice of folic acid usage, and the determinants of practice were spouse’s level of education and planned pregnancy. Health education is encouraged to sustain the good practice of folic acid use to prevent neural tube defects.

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