Understanding Women’s Awareness and Access to Preconception Health Care in a Rural Population: A Cross Sectional Study

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Despite evidence of the benefits of preconception health care (PCHC), little is known about awareness and access to PCHC for rural, reproductive-aged women. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of PCHC conversations between rural reproductive-age women and health care providers, PCHC interventions received in the past year, and ascertain predictors of PCHC conversations and interventions. Women (n = 868; 18–45 years) completed a questionnaire including reproductive history, health care services utilization, and interest in PCHC. The prevalence of health care providers’ PCHC conversations was 53.9 %, and the mean number of interventions reported was 2.6 ± 2.7 (±SD). Significant predictors of PCHC conversation based on adjusted odds ratios from logistic regression were race (Native American 76 % greater than White), health care provider type (non-physician 63 % greater than physician), visits to a health care provider (3+ times 32 % greater than 1–2 times), and pregnancy planning (considering in next 1–5 years 51 % greater than no plans). Significant predictors of PCHC interventions received in the past 12 months based on adjusted risk ratios from negative binomial regression were race (Native American 22 % greater than White), PCHC conversation with a health care provider (yes 52 % lower than no), reporting PCHC as beneficial (yes 32 % greater than don’t know), and visits to a health care provider in the past year (3+ times 90 % greater than 1–2 times). Increasing conversations about PCHC between health care providers and their reproductive-aged patients can improve awareness and increase their likelihood of receiving all of the recommended interventions.

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Journal of Community Health