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Keywords:

  • preconception care;
  • midwifery;
  • health education;
  • students

Introduction

College campuses remain an underused setting for implementing the 10 strategies for promoting preconception health proposed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This setting can also be used to educate young women about their options for care in future pregnancies, including midwifery care. To address these needs, the author and 2 peer educators developed and pilot-tested a multiweek health education program for college women.

Methods

Women from a small public liberal arts college in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States were recruited to participate in the pilot program, which offered 6 hours of education over 4 weeks in an interactive, participant-led format. Of 26 women who participated, 20 completed at least 3 of the 4 sessions, as well as the pre- and posttests.

Results

The program group reported greater awareness of the importance of preconception health and an increased preference for midwifery care in future pregnancies. Program participants experienced an increase in knowledge about preconception health, midwifery care, and risks associated with cesarean birth, labor induction, and preterm birth, but did not report a statistically significant change in behavior related to preconception health, including lifestyle changes and immunizations.

Discussion

Further research should be conducted with a larger sample, longer follow-up, and a more rigorous evaluation design to assess the potential contributions of this promising pilot program.