Understanding the consumption of folic acid during preconception, among Pakistani, Bangladeshi and white British mothers in Luton, UK: a qualitative study

Garcia, Rebecca; Ali, Nasreen; Griffiths, Malcolm and Randhawa, Gurch (2018). Understanding the consumption of folic acid during preconception, among Pakistani, Bangladeshi and white British mothers in Luton, UK: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 18 pp. 1–9.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-018-1884-0

Abstract

Background

To review the similarities and differences in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers health beliefs (attitudes, knowledge and perceptions) and health behaviour regarding their consumption of folic acid pre-conception, to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.


Methods

Our study used a descriptive qualitative research approach, implementing face-to-face focus group discussions with Pakistani, Bangladeshi or White British mothers (normal birth outcomes and mothers with poor birth outcomes) and semi-structured interviews or focus groups with service providers using semi-structured topic guides. This method is well suited for under researched areas where in-depth information is sought.


There were three sample groups:


1. Pakistani, Bangladeshi and White British mothers with normal birth outcomes (delivery after 37 weeks of gestation, in the preceding 6 to 24 months, weighing 2500 g and living within a specified postcode area in Luton, UK).


2. Pakistani Bangladeshi and white British bereaved mothers who had suffered a perinatal mortality (preceding 6 to 24 months, residing within a specificied postcode area).


3. Healthcare professionals working on the local maternity care pathway (i.e. services providing preconception, antenatal, antepartum and postpartum care).


Transcribed discussions were analysed using the Framework Analysis approach.


Results

The majority of mothers in this sample did not understand the benefits or optimal time to take folic acid pre-conception. Conversely, healthcare professionals believed the majority of women did consume folic acid, prior to conception.


Conclusions

There is a need to increase public health awareness of the optimal time and subsequent benefits for taking folic acid, to prevent neural tube defects.

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