Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 18–28 | Cite as

Design of the Central Pennsylvania Women’s Health Study (CePAWHS) Strong Healthy Women Intervention: Improving Preconceptional Health

  • Danielle Symons Downs
  • Mark Feinberg
  • Marianne M. Hillemeier
  • Carol S. Weisman
  • Gary A. Chase
  • Cynthia H. Chuang
  • Roxanne Parrott
  • Lori A. Francis


Considerable evidence suggests that modifiable risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birthweight include obesity, sedentary behavior, and infections. There is a growing consensus that the preconceptional and interconceptional periods may be an ideal time for preventive intervention targeting these risk factors; enhancing health before pregnancy would subsequently reduce the risk for poor pregnancy outcomes. This paper provides an overview of the development of a health behavior intervention, Strong Healthy Women, that aims to improve women’s preconceptional and interconceptional health. We describe the rationale, delivery, and targeted outcomes of the program, as well as the design of an ongoing trial currently testing program efficacy. The content areas are also discussed and include pregnancy-conception, stress, physical activity, nutrition, infection, sources of smoke in the home, and substance use. This intervention protocol may offer researchers and healthcare professionals a framework for designing other programs aiming to improve women’s preconceptional health.


Interconception Physical activity Nutrition Stress Infection Alcohol Sources of smoke in home 



This project is funded, in part, under grant number 4100020719 with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The Department specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations or conclusions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Symons Downs
    • 1
  • Mark Feinberg
    • 2
  • Marianne M. Hillemeier
    • 3
  • Carol S. Weisman
    • 3
  • Gary A. Chase
    • 3
  • Cynthia H. Chuang
    • 4
  • Roxanne Parrott
    • 5
  • Lori A. Francis
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Prevention Research CenterThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.Division of General Internal MedicineThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Communication Arts & SciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Biobehavioral HealthThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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