Talking to your patients about folic acid

Talking to your patients about folic acid and multivitamins only takes 15 seconds

The North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign asks that you take an extra 15 seconds to review the benefits of folic acid and multivitamins with all of your female patients of childbearing age. We encourage you to recommend a daily multivitamin to all women of childbearing age. Use every type of visit, such as women’s wellness screenings, sports physicals, postpartum check-ups, sick visits and annual exams, to convey this message. 

And it’s not just for doctors! All personnel in the health care industry can make a difference by talking to patients. Nurses, medical assistants, midwives, physician’s assistants, family nurse practitioners and all the rest have many opportunities to affect change. March of Dimes research shows that health care providers who regularly take a multivitamin are twice as likely to recommend multivitamins to their patients.1 So be an example and an inspiration for your female patients: Take your vitamin, too!

Tips for remembering to incorporate the multivitamin message 

Still feeling burdened by trying to remember our message? Relax, it’s easy and it only takes a few seconds. 

Here are some tips to make talking about folic acid and multivitamins with your patients a breeze:

  • Simply ask them, “Do you take a multivitamin every day?” when discussing current medication use. 
  • Ask your patients to tell you why taking a multivitamin is hard for them. Then prompt them on ideas to make it easier. Use our brochure, the Busy Woman’s Guide to Multivitamins. 
  • Add “Do you take a multivitamin every day?” as a question on your patient intake forms. 
  • When you talk to your patients about their medications, remind them that you want to know which supplements and over-the-counter medicines they are using, too. 
  • Mention multivitamins when you are talking about contraception with women who are NOT trying to become pregnant, such as “Try taking a multivitamin at the same time as your birth control pill” or “Because condoms are only 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, be sure to take a multivitamin every day.” 
  • Use the Women’s Wellness Rx form to go over important health messages with women, including multivitamins. 
  • Order free education materials and reminder items to give to your patients. 
  • Give your patients multivitamin samples or starter packs. Ask your pharmaceutical representative if their company makes multivitamins. If they do, ask them for some samples. 
  • Have the North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign staff come to your practice for an in-service presentation. Contact a coordinator nearest to you to schedule a visit.


  1. Gallup Organization and March of Dimes Foundation (2008). Improving Preconception Health: Women’s Knowledge and Use of Folic Acid. 

Revised: June 6, 2011

This web site is designed for informational use only; it is not designed to give advice, diagnose, cure or treat any medical condition you may have. If you have any questions about your health, please contact your health care provider.