Effectiveness of preconception care interventions in primary care: a systematic review protocol

BJGP Open. 2022 Aug 30;6(2):BJGPO.2021.0191. doi: 10.3399/BJGPO.2021.0191. Print 2022 Jun.


Background: Pregnancy outcomes can be adversely affected by a range of modifiable risk factors, including alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, drug use, and poor nutrition, during the preconception period. Preconception care (PCC) involves interventions that identify and seek to change behavioural, biomedical, and social risks present in reproductive-aged women and men. Primary care is well situated to offer PCC interventions but the effectiveness of these interventions is not clear.

Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of primary care-based PCC delivered to reproductive-aged women and/or men to improve health knowledge, reduce preconception risk factors, and improve pregnancy outcomes.

Design & setting: A systematic review of primary care-based PCC.

Method: Ovid MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) databases will be searched for English language studies published between July 1999 and May 2021. For inclusion, the PCC intervention must be provided in a primary care setting and intervention recipients must be reproductive-aged women and/or men. All stages of screening and data extraction will involve a dual review. The Cochrane Risk of Bias 2 (RoB 2) for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) will be used to assess the methodological quality of studies. This protocol adheres to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols (PRISMA-P) reporting guidelines.

Conclusion: Findings will determine the effectiveness of primary care-based preconception interventions delivered to reproductive-aged women and men on improving health knowledge, reducing risk factors, and improving pregnancy outcomes. Findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Keywords: general practice; pre-pregnancy care; preconception care; pregnancy outcome; primary health care.