Improving preconception care

J Reprod Med. 2000 Jul;45(7):546-52.


Objective: To improve the documentation and delivery of preconception care to all women of reproductive age attending an inner city hospital's outpatient gynecology clinic. A secondary goal was to evaluate the knowledge and awareness of providers regarding preconception care.

Study design: A preintervention chart review of a convenience sample of non-pregnant women with reproductive potential who attend an inner city hospital gynecology clinic (n = 100) was conducted to evaluate delivery of preconception care. Items screened for included: family planning services, domestic violence, nutrition and medical risk factors, medication use, appropriate counseling and use of referral services. All providers in the clinic were surveyed to assess their knowledge of and attitudes toward preconception care. A two-part intervention was then carried out: (1) a one-hour lecture for all providers, and (2) a standardized preconception care form inserted in all charts. A postintervention chart review of a second convenience sample (n = 100) and repeat provider survey were then conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the two interventions.

Results: Following the two-pronged intervention, there was evidence of improved documentation of the delivery of preconception care. Documentation of screening in almost all categories was significantly improved (P < .05). The greatest improvements were noted in complete screening for medical risk factors (from 15% to 44%), for over-the-counter and prescription medication use (from 10% to 70% and 30% to 77%, respectively), domestic violence (from 10% to 57%) and nutrition (from 9% to 50%). However, provider knowledge of and attitudes toward preconception care were not significantly changed.

Conclusion: The combination of education about preconception care and insertion of a standardized form into a patient's chart led to a clear improvement in the documentation of preconception care. Given the significance of preconception care, insertion of a standardized form should be considered to help providers complete and appropriate care to their patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gynecology / standards
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / standards*
  • Medical Audit
  • Outpatients
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Urban Population