Folic Acid Supplementation and Interpregnancy Interval

R.M. Nilsen*, P. Mastroiacovo, N. Gunnes, E.R. Alsaker, A.L. Bjorke-Monsen, S.J.P.M. Eussen, M. Haugen, A. Johannessen, H.M. Meltzer, C. Stoltenberg, P.M. Ueland, S.E. Vollset

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Maternal folic acid supplementation between subsequent pregnancies may be important to reduce the risk of low folate status associated with short interpregnancy intervals. We examined how the prevalence of preconception folic acid use for a given pregnancy in Norwegian women varied according to the time interval from the previous pregnancy. Methods Analysis was based on 48 855 pairs of pregnancies with the second pregnancy included in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (birth years 1999-2009). Interpregnancy interval was defined as the time from birth of a child to the conception of the subsequent sibling. Preconception folic acid use was defined as any use of folic acid-containing supplements within the last 4 weeks before the second pregnancy. Results The prevalence of preconception folic acid use was 31%. Among women with a term birth (>= 37 weeks) in the previous pregnancy (92%), those with interpregnancy intervals <= 12 and >= 49 months were associated with up to 35% lower prevalence of preconception folic acid use for the second pregnancy, relative to the reference group (13-24 months). The low use in short intervals was mainly attributable to lower proportion of planned pregnancies and fewer women with higher education. Among women with a preterm birth (<37 weeks) in the previous pregnancy (8%), preconception folic acid use significantly decreased with increasing pregnancy spacing. Conclusions Our finding of a lower preconception folic acid use in women with both short and long interpregnancy intervals might help identifying those with higher risk of folate deficiency and preventing unwanted pregnancy outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-274
JournalPaediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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