Folic acid, a form of vitamin B is very essential, especially for the women of childbearing age. It helps in the prevention of serious birth defects in babies.
Though 60 percentage of the women are aware of the importance of folic acid, a large majority of them doesn't seem to put the knowledge into practice.
Based on the review of 31 studies conducted, Dr. Corina Mihaela Chivu, said that many women are ignoring the importance of folic acid on the prevention of birth defects.
According to Chivu, the necessary steps to promote folic acid use should come from all sides, including the mass media.
"For the last six months in the U.S., no advertisement about folic acid in pregnancy has appeared on TV," Chivu said. "Instead, ads promoting expensive and ineffective drugs appear daily."
She also said that folic acid is under-promoted by the media, under-recommended by doctors and underused by young women.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have promoted fortification of enriched cereal grain products with folic acid.
Folic-acid fortification is a step forward, Chivy said. However, "fortification is not a surrogate for supplementation," Chivu said.
"Women who plan a pregnancy should eat foods rich in folate or fortified products, but at the same time take the pills with folic acid," she added.
Green plants, fresh fruits, liver, yeast etc are rich in folic acid.