Preconception healthcare: What women know and believe

Keith A. Frey, Julia A. Files

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine if women realize the importance of optimizing their health prior to a pregnancy, whether the pregnancy is planned or not; and to evaluate their knowledge level and beliefs about preconception healthcare. Additionally, we sought to understand how and when women wanted to receive information on preconception health. Methods: A survey study was performed using consecutive patients presenting to primary care practices for an annual well-woman exam. Patients were recruited based on appointment type and willingness to complete the survey at the time of their appointment, but prior to being seen by the physician. Results: A total of 499 women completed the survey. Nearly all women (98.6%) realized the importance of optimizing their health prior to a pregnancy, and realized the best time to receive information about preconception health is before conception. The vast majority of patients surveyed (95.3%) preferred to receive information about preconception health from their primary care physician. Only 39% of women could recall their physician ever discussing this topic. The population studied revealed some significant knowledge deficiencies about factors that may threaten the health of mother or fetus. Conclusions: A majority of women do understand the importance of optimizing their health prior to conception, and look to their Primary care physician as their preferred source for such information. Study participants demonstrated deficiencies in their knowledge of risk factors that impact maternal and fetal health suggesting that physicians are not addressing preconception healthcare during routine care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Preconception care
  • Preconception health
  • Primary care
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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