A systematic review of women's and health professional's attitudes and experience of preconception care service delivery

Fam Pract. 2016 Dec;33(6):588-595. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmw094. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Background: The value and importance of preconception care (PCC) have been acknowledged by leading health organizations as a vital element within preventive medicine and health promotion for the wider population. The translation of PCC from position statement to relevant service and programme delivery is essential for the benefits of PCC to be realized and relies on insights from health services research. This article aims to review contemporary health services research literature examining women's and health professionals' perceptions and experiences of PCC services.

Methods: A systematic review of original research published between 2003 and 2015 was conducted in November 2015. Multiple databases (PubMed, CINAHL, AMED and Maternity and Infant Care) were searched through two distinct searches to capture research literature reporting the perspective of health professionals and women towards PCC service delivery.

Results: The search identified 13 papers (4 reported the perceptions of women, 11 described the views of health professionals [2 papers reported findings from both groups]). The analyses of the contemporary literature revealed five broad areas of focus: women's service needs regarding PCC, PCC training and education requirements, role delineation around PCC, priority and value of PCC and barriers and obstacles to PCC.

Conclusions: Despite the mounting evidence supporting the value and importance of PCC, there is insufficient research attention given to the clinical reality of PCC service and programme delivery. The transfer of PCC guidelines from broad policy to grass roots practice requires a more detailed consideration of the practicalities of implementing PCC within contemporary women's health care.

Keywords: Attitudes; fertility; health services; patient satisfaction; preconception care..

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Preconception Care / economics
  • Preconception Care / standards*
  • Professional Role
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Time Factors