The childbearing concerns and related information needs and preferences of women of reproductive age with a chronic, noncommunicable health condition: A systematic review

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Background: Certain chronic health conditions and their treatments may compromise women's fertility; some chronic conditions are more likely to affect women of reproductive age than others, and some are heritable. All have implications for women's future childbearing and fertility management.
Objective: The aim of this systematic review was to identify the concerns about childbearing and related information needs and preferences of women with a chronic, noncommunicable health condition.
Method: The review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses procedure.Relevant social science and medical science databases (Ovid MEDLINE, ProQuest, and CINAHL plus) were searched for peer-reviewed, English-language papers published from 1995 to August 2012 of empirical research using quantitative or qualitative methods.
Results: Of the 5,350 articles identified, 29 met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Despite variation in methods, the studies demonstrated consistently that women with a chronic health condition are concerned about childbearing and have questions about the reproductive implications of their condition. The evidence suggests that there is less consistency about women's preferences for the mode and timing of information about the effect of the condition and its treatment on childbearing. Most research to date has focused on the needs and experiences of women with cancer;there is almost none about other noncommunicable conditions.
Conclusion: There are serious evidence gaps about the childbearing concerns and related information needs and preferences of women with chronic, noncommunicable health conditions. Research is required to address these gaps and to inform the development of appropriate tools to assist women in this situation with their childbearing decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e541 - e552
Number of pages12
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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