DiPietro Mager, Natalie Ann. (2020). Preconception and Interconception Health and Routine Health Service Use Among Women in a Rural Midwestern County (Doctor of Philosophy), Indiana University.
Advancement of preconception and interconception health is a key element to improve women’s health as well as pregnancy outcomes. Little is known about the preconception and interconception health status of rural Midwestern populations in the United States. The primary objective of this study was to determine the preconception and interconception health status as well as behaviors of reproductive age women living in a rural Midwestern area. Secondary objectives were to quantify process measures of health care access and barriers to care, as well as determine disparities in preconception and interconception health status among women in this rural area as compared to statewide estimates. As existing national or state secondary data sources often have limitations in data derived from areas with low population densities or insufficient sample sizes to generate reliable estimates, a cross-sectional study was performed using a 34item survey. Data were collected from February to May 2019 from 315 non-pregnant women ages 18-45 years in a rural county in northwestern Ohio. Nearly all women surveyed had at least one risk factor associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, many of which were modifiable. Nearly half of all respondents reported at least one barrier to receipt of health care services. Women in this rural county fared worse for several preconception and interconception health measures when compared to statewide estimates derived from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Ohio Pregnancy Assessment Survey data. These findings illustrate the need for continued development of interventions to improve preconception and interconception health for rural women as well as improved methods to capture and analyze data on important subpopulations at risk.