Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 501–510

Pregnancy Intention and Health Behaviors: Results from the Central Pennsylvania Women’s Health Study Cohort

  • Cynthia H. Chuang
  • Carol S. Weisman
  • Marianne M. Hillemeier
  • Eleanor Bimla Schwarz
  • Fabian T. Camacho
  • Anne-Marie Dyer
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-009-0453-6

Cite this article as:
Chuang, C.H., Weisman, C.S., Hillemeier, M.M. et al. Matern Child Health J (2010) 14: 501. doi:10.1007/s10995-009-0453-6

Abstract

Objective Our objective was to determine whether intention for future pregnancy affects selected preconception health behaviors that may impact pregnancy outcomes. Methods Analyses are based on data from a population-based cohort study of women ages 18–45 residing in Central Pennsylvania. A subsample of 847 non-pregnant women with reproductive capacity comprise the analytic sample. We determined the associations between intention for future pregnancy and the pattern in the following health behaviors over a 2-year period: nutrition (fruit and vegetable consumption), folic acid supplementation, physical activity, binge drinking, smoking, and vaginal douching. Multivariable analyses controlled for pregnancy-related variables, health status, health care utilization, and sociodemographic variables. Results At baseline, 9% of women were considering pregnancy in the next year, 37% of women were considering pregnancy some other time in the future, and 53% of women were not considering future pregnancy. In multivariable analyses, there were no associations between intention for future pregnancy and maintaining healthy behavior or improving behavior for any of the seven longitudinal health behaviors studied. Conclusions The importance of nutrition, folic acid supplementation, physical activity, avoiding binge drinking, not smoking, and avoiding vaginal douching in the preconception period needs to be emphasized by health care providers and policy makers.

Keywords

Pregnancy intention Preconception Health behaviors Pregnancy outcomes 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia H. Chuang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carol S. Weisman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marianne M. Hillemeier
    • 2
    • 4
  • Eleanor Bimla Schwarz
    • 5
  • Fabian T. Camacho
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Dyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicinePenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesPenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyPenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Policy and AdministrationPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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