Objective: To provide the latest and most promising evidence on the prevalence and determinants for folic acid supplementation in pregnant women in Japan, including differences in prevalence between interview years and determinants across regions. Materials and methods: The study participants were enrolled from 15 regional centers across Japan between January 2011 and March 2014. Information on the use of folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy and the characteristics of the participants were collected using questionnaires, medical chart reviews, and interviews by research coordinators. Results: Data for 91,538 women who provided sufficient data on folic acid supplementation were analyzed. The prevalence of adequate users was 8.0%, which, although low, tended to improve over the 4-year recruitment period. Various kinds of sociodemographic factors, lifestyle habits, and obstetrical and medication use history were significant and independent determinants for folic acid use. Associations between adequate preconception folic acid use and its major determinants tended to be similar across regions. Conclusions: Although the prevalence of adequate folic acid use was low, it increased from 2011 to 2014. Reproductive-aged women who have determinants for inadequate folic acid use should be informed about the need for preconception folic acid supplementation to help prevent neural tube defects.
- Folic acid
- neural tube defects