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Lifestyle and psychological factors associated with pregnancy intentions: Findings from a longitudinal cohort study of Australian women

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posted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Briony Hill, Mathew Ling, G Mishra, L J Moran, H J Teede, L Bruce, Helen Skouteris
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Background: Preconception is a critical time for the establishment of healthy lifestyle behaviours and psychological well-being to reduce adverse maternal and offspring outcomes. This study aimed to explore relationships between preconception lifestyle and psychological factors and prospectively assessed short-(currently trying to conceive) and long-term (future parenthood aspirations) pregnancy intentions. Methods: Data from Wave 3 (age 25–30 years; n = 7656) and Wave 5 (age 31–36 years; n = 4735) from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health were used. Pregnancy intentions and parenthood aspirations were evaluated. Logistic regressions explored cross-sectional associations between demographic, lifestyle and psychological factors and pregnancy intentions/parenthood aspirations. Results: In multivariable models, parity and marital status were associated consistently with pregnancy intentions and parenthood aspirations. Few lifestyle behaviours and no psychological factors were associated with pregnancy intentions. Alcohol intake was the only behaviour associated with aspirations to have a first child. Aspirations for a second/subsequent child were associated negatively with physical activity, sitting time, diet quality, lower anxiety and higher stress. Conclusions: It appears that women are not changing their behaviours when they form a decision to try to conceive. Interventions are needed that address women’s preconception needs, to optimise lifestyle and improve health outcomes for women and their families.



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health






1 - 16


Basel, Switzerland







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal