Association Between Preconception Counseling and Folic Acid Supplementation Before Pregnancy and Reasons for Non-Use

Paul J. Bixenstine, Tina L. Cheng, Diana Cheng, Katherine A. Connor, Kamila B. Mistry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To examine the relationship between folic acid preconception counseling (PCC) and folic acid use and reasons for non-use among women with a recent live birth. We analyzed Maryland Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey responses from 2009 to 2011 (n = 4,426, response rate = 67 %). Multivariable weighted logistic regression models were used to explore associations between folic acid PCC receipt and folic acid use and reasons for non-use. Approximately 30 % of women reported daily folic acid use the month before pregnancy, with lower rates among those who were <30, non-white, or unmarried; received WIC during pregnancy; had suffered a stressful event prepregnancy; smoked prepregnancy; had a previous live birth; or had an unintended pregnancy (all p < 0.05). The most common reasons for folic acid non-use were “not planning pregnancy” (61 %) and “didn’t think needed to take” (41 %). Folic acid PCC receipt was reported by 27 % of women and was associated with three times the odds of folic acid use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.15, 95 % CI 2.47–4.03) and half the odds of reporting “didn’t think needed to take” (aOR 0.47, 95 % CI 0.28–0.78) as a reason for non-use. Less than one-third of recent Maryland mothers reported using folic acid daily before pregnancy and only 27 % reported receiving folic acid PCC. However, folic acid PCC was associated with increased folic acid use and decreased reporting that women did not think they needed to take folic acid. Our data support initiatives to promote provision of folic acid PCC to all women of childbearing age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1974-1984
Number of pages11
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Folic acid
  • Preconception care
  • Preconception counseling
  • Women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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