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Plasma folate levels in early to mid pregnancy after a nation-wide folic acid supplementation program in areas with high and low prevalence of neural tube defects in China



Plasma folate levels in early to mid pregnancy after a nation-wide folic acid supplementation program in areas with high and low prevalence of neural tube defects in China



Birth Defects Research. Part A Clinical and Molecular Teratology 103(6): 501-508



Folic acid supplementation is recommended for all women of child-bearing age to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). A nation-wide folic acid supplementation program was implemented in rural areas of China since 2009; however, changes in plasma folate levels in pregnant women were unknown. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2011 to 2012, with 1736 pregnant women enrolled, and results were compared with a previous survey in 2002 to 2004. A microbiological method was used to determine plasma folate levels. Preprogram and postprogram median plasma folate concentrations were compared while stratified by prevalence of NTDs and residence. In the high NTD prevalence population, plasma folate concentration increased to 33.4 (18.7, 58.4) nmol/L in the postprogram sample, which is 2.9 times of the preprogram. In the low NTD prevalence population, plasma folate increased to 67.9 (44.5, 101.9) nmol/L, which is 1.9 times of the preprogram. Gaps remained in plasma folate levels with respect to prevalence of NTDs and residence. Folic acid supplementation has a strong impact on plasma folate concentrations. Earlier supplementation (before the last menstrual period), increased supplementation frequency and more total days of supplementation were associated with a higher plasma folate concentration as demonstrated in both the high- and low-prevalence populations. Plasma folate levels among pregnant Chinese women increased dramatically after the nation-wide folic acid supplementation program in both rural and urban areas, and in populations of high and low NTD prevalence. The nation-wide program should have a component to ensure that supplementation begins before pregnancy.

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Accession: 058562594

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25808729

DOI: 10.1002/bdra.23368


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