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Women’s needs for lifestyle risk reduction engagement during the interconception period: a scoping review
  1. Sharon James1,
  2. Jessica E Moulton1,
  3. Anisa Assifi1,
  4. Jessica Botfield1,
  5. Kirsten Black1,2,
  6. Mark Hanson3,
  7. Danielle Mazza1
  1. 1 SPHERE CRE, Department of General Practice, Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. 2 Specialty of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. 3 University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine Health and Life Sciences, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharon James, Department of General Practice, Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia; Sharon.James{at}


Background Unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for many chronic conditions, and antenatal engagement with women about lifestyle behaviours can be too late to prevent some adverse pregnancy outcomes and subsequent childhood risks. To reduce the risk of future adverse outcomes, the interconception period is an opportunity to implement positive health changes. The aim of this scoping review was to explore women’s needs for lifestyle risk reduction engagement during the interconception period.

Methods The JBI methodology guided our scoping review. Six databases were searched for peer-reviewed, English-language research papers published between 2010 and 2021 on topics including perceptions, attitudes, lifestyle, postpartum, preconception and interconception. Title-abstract and full text screening was independently undertaken by two authors. Included papers’ reference lists were searched to find additional papers. The main concepts were then identified using a descriptive and tabular approach.

Results A total of 1734 papers were screened and 33 met our inclusion criteria. Most included papers (82%, n=27) reported on nutrition and/or physical activity. Papers identified interconception through postpartum and/or preconception. Women’s self-management needs for lifestyle risk reduction engagement during interconception included: informational needs, managing competing priorities, physical and mental health, self-perception and motivation, access to services and professional support, and family and peer networks.

Conclusions There is a range of challenges for women to engage in lifestyle risk reduction during interconception. To enable women’s preferences for how lifestyle risk reduction activities can be enacted, issues including childcare, ongoing and tailored health professional support, domestic support, cost and health literacy need to be addressed.

  • patient preference
  • patient participation
  • reproductive health
  • reproductive health services
  • reproductive behavior

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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  • Twitter @Sharon_MJames, @jessicamoulton_, @anisaassifi, @jess_botfield, @MarkHansonUoS, @Danielle_Mazza

  • Contributors SJ conceived, planned and carried out this review and took part in all stages from planning to submission. SJ and JEM conducted the the screening of papers and analysis for the review. SJ, JEM, JB, AA, KB, MH, DM contributed to the interpretation of findings and writing of the manuscript. All authors proofread and signed off on the article prior to submission.

  • Funding Funding for this scoping review was received from a National Health and Medical Research Council SPHERE Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care seeding grant, within the Department of General Practice, Monash University, Australia.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.