Publications & Reports

Knowledge, attitudes and behaviours surrounding preconception and pregnancy health: an Australian cross-sectional survey.

Musgrave L, Homer C, Gordon A
Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, New South Wales, Australia [email protected]


OBJECTIVE: To understand Australian women’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviours surrounding preconception and pregnancy health and their preferences for information about these periods. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Making healthy changes can optimise preconception and pregnancy outcomes. Clinical practice guidelines inform preconception and pregnancy care in Australia. Women often have access to multiple sources of information on reproductive and pregnancy health. PARTICIPANTS: Women of reproductive age were asked to complete a web-based survey. The survey development was informed by preconception guidelines, consensus statements and the national pregnancy care guidelines. The survey was distributed through social media, local and national networks from 2017 to 2018. RESULTS: Completed surveys were received from 553 women.The majority (80.4%) had high educational attainment. Checking immunisation status and ensuring good mental health were rated as equally important actions both preconception (65%) and during pregnancy (78%). Limiting sedentary activities was not rated as an important action to take either preconception (36%), or during pregnancy (38%). Although women have good knowledge about the impact of weight on their own health outcomes (eg, gestational diabetes), there was less knowledge about adverse outcomes for babies like stillbirth and preterm birth. Women access many sources for reproductive health information, however, the most trusted source was from healthcare professionals. CONCLUSION: Most women of reproductive age in Australia have knowledge of the key health recommendations for preconception and pregnancy. However, there are gaps related to lifestyle behaviours particularly connected to weight gain and outcomes for babies. There is a strong preference to receive trusted information from healthcare providers through multiple resources.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: BMJ Open
  • Published: 03/01/2023
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: e065055