The diet is not sufficient to achieve the recommended intake (RI) of folic acid supplements during pregnancy


Under the heading of ‘Folic acid intake from diet and supplements in a population of pregnant women in Valencia, Spain (Spanish)‘, Eva Maria Navarrete Muñoz-nutrition group researcher at the University Miguel Hernandez, INMA-Valencia-analyzed dietary intake and acid supplements folic acid (FA) during pregnancy.

Folic acid is an essential nutrient in fetal development to prevent serious birth defects like neural tube defects (spina bifida). The study also analyzed the factors associated with failure to follow dietary recommendations (recommended intake (RI) of 600 micrograms / day and taking periconceptional supplements 400 mcg / day).

Study 782 pregnant
To perform this study included 782 pregnant women from INMA cohort in Valencia. Dietary intake was estimated using a food frequency questionnaire in two periods of pregnancy, from preconception to the second month of pregnancy, and from the third month of the seventh.

The result of this study yielded the following results. The average dietary intake of periconceptional FA was 304 mcg / day. There was a low percentage of women taking supplements of FA in the periconceptional period (19{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b}, 30{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} and 66{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} of pregnant women took supplements of FA in preconception, in the first and second month). On the other hand, found that about 30{3effe4377b6f02be2524d084f7d03914ac32a2b62c0a056ca3444e58c1f10d0b} of women taking FA supplements did improperly, exceeding the tolerable limit of 1,000 mcg / day.

Factors associated with the failure of the recommendations were not Spanish, low education, being a smoker, not having planned the pregnancy, having had previous children and have had no problems in previous pregnancies.


In this study the following conclusions. A high percentage of pregnant women do not take supplements or do AF late and wrong. Moreover, the diet alone is not sufficient to achieve the recommended intake of folic acid (FA). This situation is getting worse among young women, low educational level and with unplanned pregnancy.

Eva María Navarrete Muñoz holds a degree in Statistics. Master and Doctor of Public Health. Work in the Group of Epidemiology of Nutrition (EPINUT; at the University Miguel Hernández.