Prevalence of maternal preconception risk factors: an Italian multicenter survey
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Objectives: Adequate preconception maternal health care is essential to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy outcomes and complications. Still, many women are exposed to a number of unhealthy risk factors both before and early in pregnancy. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of a number of important preconception risk factors using data from a recent multicenter study in Italy.
Methods: The study was based on cross-sectional data from seven maternity clinics located in six different regions in Italy during the period January – June, 2012. Data on maternal preconception risk factors and characteristics were collected from 1,892 women who delivered healthy children and 320 women who were pregnant in the first trimester.
Results: About 97% of the women (n = 2,212) were exposed to one or more preconception risk factors. The overall prevalence of the most essential maternal risk factors was as follows: 41% had a age ≥35 years, 36% mistimed or did not intend their pregnancy, 58% did not request a preconception health visit to their doctor, 76% did not use folic acid supplements before pregnancy, 26% smoked at the last menstrual period, 19% had a body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 before pregnancy, and 10% suffered from pregestational chronic diseases. The prevalence of certain variables varied between the maternity clinics.
Conclusions: Many Italian women are exposed to a number of preconception risk factors that have been associated with adverse pregnancy complications and outcomes. More effective intervention programs to improve preconception health in Italian women are strongly needed.
CitationItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Pierpaolo Mastroiacovo et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.