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More Irish Women Taking Folic Acid, But Not Enough

All women who could become pregnant are being encouraged to make taking folic acid a daily habit, irrespective of whether they are planning a pregnancy or not.

Safefood’s campaign ‘Babies Know the Facts About Folic’ is also reminding women that taking a folic acid supplement daily is the best way to reduce the risk of having a baby with a Neural Tube Defect (NTD) like Spina Bifida.

Last year's campaign saw a significant increase(+48%) in awareness of why you should take folic acid. There was also an increase in those reporting taking folic acid routinely even though they were not planning a pregnancy (+7%) and there were also positive increases in folic acid sales during the campaign (+26% average year on year). However, the reported behaviour changes were from a very low starting level.

In a recent online survey by safefood, the most common barriers listed by women to taking folic acid were low relevancy to them (42%); a lack of advice to take folic acid (40%); a belief that contraception was 100% effective (37%) and forgetting to take folic acid (30%).

Folic acid is widely available, doesn’t require a prescription and doesn’t cost more than a couple of cents a day. By taking folic acid daily, women are taking control of their own health. Taking folic doesn’t mean you are planning a baby but it does mean that when you do have a baby, however unplanned or far in the future that may be, you are already helping to protect their health.

Supported by Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland and Shine NI, the safefood campaign ‘Babies Know the Facts About Folic’ will feature on social and digital media with added in-store promotional support across the island of Ireland from pharmacies, folic acid manufacturers, GP surgeries and retail outlets where folic acid is sold. For more information, visit or follow the conversation using the hashtag #FolicFacts

Do think you are getting enough folic acid in your diet? Or could you be getting more? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Editor of, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.


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