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 nonpregnant 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.
- Health behaviors
- Pregnancy intention
- Pregnancy outcomes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health