Call to address women’s reproductive needs holistically

Women’s reproductive needs should be considered holistically by considering pregnancy prevention and pregnancy preparation at the same time, finds a new study.

The research, published in The Lancet Public Health, brought together a variety of different types of evidence — including previous studies, new data on women’s preferences, and case studies of existing practice across the globe — to develop a model, which could be used to help design services in a way that better meets the needs of women and their partners.

Researchers found that, currently, health services only view women to either be pregnant or not pregnant, and do not consider their health in the in-between stage — before trying to conceive. This can have an important influence on both their chances of becoming pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy as well as affect their own health in the short and long term.

Lead author Dr. Jenny Hall said: “The model proposed in this paper can be adapted and implemented across a range of primary care settings, including general practice and sexual and reproductive health services, with appropriate training for health professionals. Doing so will bridge the gap between contraception and antenatal services, providing services in a way that better meets women’s needs as they move through their reproductive life course.”

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