One Key Question®: First Things First in Reproductive Health


Objectives Preconceptional health care is increasingly recognized as important to promotion of healthy birth outcomes. Preconceptional care offers an opportunity to influence pregnancy timing and intent and mother’s health status prior to conception, all predictors of individual outcomes and of inequality in birth outcomes based on race, ethnicity and class. Methods One Key Question, a promising practice developed in Oregon which is now attracting national interest, provides an entry point into preconceptional care by calling on providers to screen for pregnancy intent in well woman and chronic disease care for women of reproductive age. For women who choose not to become pregnant or are not definitive in their pregnancy intent, One Key Question provides an opportunity for provision of or referral to counseling and contraceptive care. Results Adoption of One Key Question and preconceptional care as standard practices will require important shifts in medical practice challenging the longstanding schism between well woman care generally and reproductive care in particular. Adoption will also require shifts in cultural norms which define the onset of pregnancy as the appropriate starting point for attention to infant health. Conclusions for Practice This commentary reviews the case for preconceptional care, presents the rationale for One Key Question as a strategy for linking primary care to preconceptional and/or contraceptive care for women, outlines what is entailed in implementation of One Key Question in a health care setting, and suggests ways to build community support for preconceptional health.

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The authors acknowledge Janelle Wylie for assistance with manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Deborah Allen.

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Allen, D., Hunter, M.S., Wood, S. et al. One Key Question®: First Things First in Reproductive Health. Matern Child Health J 21, 387–392 (2017) doi:10.1007/s10995-017-2283-2

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  • One Key Question©
  • Preconceptional health
  • Family planning
  • Well woman care