Elmedina Mrkuli?*, Jasmina Mahmutovi?, Hajrija Maksi?, Alma Mizdrak, Amina Lu?kin, Amela Salihovi?, Almedina Alihodži?, Zineta Mulaosmanovi?


In the critical period of pregnancy for women and their unborn infants, nutritional status plays an important role. Taking folic acid supplementation before pregnancy can reduce neural tube defects up to 70% cases. The present study examined how much mother know about the importance of taking folic acid and whether they have taken folic acid for NTDs prevention. In addition, compared to two groups of mothers, we will determine what the risk factors for NTDs are, as well as what factors affect folic acid taking. Methods: This cross-sectional study included mothers (n39) of children with NTDs and mothers (n50) with healthy newborns. We interviewed both groups of mothers, and entered the data in a structured questionnaire containg characteristics of mothers and issues related to the information and prevention of NTDs with folic acid. Results: In the group of mothers with a child who has verified NTDs there were significantly more mothers with low levels of education (p<0,001), and significantly more unemployed mothers (p=0,007). Also in this group, mothers knew significantly less about folic acid (p=0,007), and significantly less took folic acid during pregnancy (p<0001). Folic acid taking was significantly influenced by the educational status of the mother (p=0.035) and recommendation of health professionals during pregnancy (p=0,026). Conclusion: More efforts should be made to increase women's knowledge and awareness of the importance of supplementation and the consequences of insufficient supplementation in order to improve community health. The media could play a significant role in spreading knowledge of the importance of folic acid for NTDs prevention. Promoting FA supplementation before pregnancy and during reproductive age is necessary for each community. Health professional education programmes would also be very significant, in order to improve preventive programmes.

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