Lifestyle and Psychological Factors Associated with Pregnancy Intentions: Findings from a Longitudinal Cohort Study of Australian Women

Briony Hill, Mathew Ling, Gita Mishra, Lisa J. Moran, Helena J. Teede, Lauren Bruce, Helen Skouteris

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6 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5094
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019


  • health behaviour
  • lifestyle
  • preconception
  • pregnancy intention
  • psychological well-being

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