Article

Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 31-39

Preconception Health: Awareness, Planning, and Communication Among a Sample of US Men and Women

  • Elizabeth W. MitchellAffiliated withPrevention Research Branch, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Email author 
  • , Denise M. LevisAffiliated withPrevention Research Branch, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
  • , Christine E. PrueAffiliated withNational Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Abstract

It is important to educate both men and women about preconception health (PCH), but limited research exists in this area. This paper examines men’s and women’s awareness of exposure to PCH information and of specific PCH behaviors, PCH planning, and PCH discussions with their partners. Data from Porter Novelli’s 2007 Healthstyles survey were used. Women and men of reproductive age were included in the analysis (n = 2,736) to understand their awareness, planning, and conversations around PCH. Only 27.9% of women and men reported consistently using an effective birth control method. The majority of men (52%) and women (43%) were unaware of any exposure to PCH messages; few received information from their health care provider. Women were more aware than men of specific pre-pregnancy health behaviors. Women in the sample reported having more PCH conversations with their partners than did men. PCH education should focus on both women and men. Communication about PCH is lacking, both between couples and among men and women and their health care providers. PCH education might benefit from brand development so that consumers know what to ask for and providers know what to deliver.

Keywords

Preconception Pregnancy Knowledge Awareness Communication