Preconception health care interventions: A scoping review

Sex Reprod Healthc. 2017 Dec;14:24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2017.08.004. Epub 2017 Aug 19.


Pregnancy is often framed as a "window of opportunity" for intervening on a variety of health practices such as alcohol and tobacco use. However, there is evidence that interventions focusing solely on the time of pregnancy can be too narrow and potentially stigmatizing. Indeed, health risks observed in the preconception period often continue during pregnancy. Using a scoping review methodology, this study consolidates knowledge and information related to current preconception and interconception health care interventions published in the academic literature. We identified a total of 29 intervention evaluations, and summarized these narratively. Findings suggest that there has been some progress in intervening on preconception health, with the majority of interventions offering assessment or screening followed by brief intervention or counselling. Overall, these interventions demonstrated improvements in at least some of the outcomes measured. However, further preconception care research and intervention design is needed. In particular, the integration of gender transformative principles into preconception care is needed, along with further intervention design for partners/ men, and more investigation on how best to deliver preconception care.

Keywords: Interconception health; Preconception health; Scoping review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Preconception Care / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Reproductive Health / standards*