Developing and delivering interventions for pregnancy to reduce mother and child deaths

A global group of experts has established research priorities addressing care for women prior to pregnancy, in a consensus statement published in PLOS Medicine this week. Sohni Dean and Zulfiqar Bhutta from the Aga Khan University, Karachi, collaborated with colleagues to identify the most important research areas for preconception care that need to be addressed in order to reduce deaths and disability in women and children.

Prevention of maternal and child mortality has featured prominently in the Millennium Development Goals and the subsequent follow-up targets, but to date there has been little focus on how better preparation for pregnancy could impact on these deaths. The aim of preconception care is to improve outcomes for women, mothers and babies by ensuring that a woman enters pregnancy in the best state possible, but little work has been undertaken on interventions that achieve this purpose.

International experts in used a meticulous process to highlight the topics for prioritization in low and middle-income countries, which have the greatest burden of maternal and . They examined what was already known and then worked through several stages to reach a consensus. The top-scoring research areas were the cost-effective integration of preconception care into wider health-related programs, increasing health promotion and healthcare provision through community health workers, strategies for reducing women's exposure to tobacco smoke, prevention of pregnancies in adolescents, and promoting birth spacing.

An accompanying Perspective from Joel Ray and colleagues at St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, (not involved in the study), welcomes this initiative and acknowledges the enormous amount of work that has gone into identifying the research priorities for this neglected area. They consider which personnel are best placed to deliver the interventions and indicate that improving female education and literacy are important components of the package to reduce maternal and .

More information: Dean S, Rudan I, Althabe F, Webb Girard A, Howson C, et al. (2013) Setting Research Priorities for Preconception Care in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Aiming to Reduce Maternal and Child Mortality and Morbidity. PLoS Med 10(9): e1001508. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001508

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Timing pregnancy an important health concern for women

Apr 11, 2012

A newly published article in the journal Nursing for Women's Health highlights the importance of a woman's ability to time her childbearing. The author asserts that contraception is a means of health promotion and women ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

16 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

18 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

19 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments