EGA Institute for Women's Health


Improving Preconception Care

Preconception health, diet
If women don’t get a contraceptive method that suits them, they may be at risk of having an unplanned pregnancy. We have a large programme of research in this area, reflected in a Lancet series (2018) that describes why preconception health is important, how it affects future health and what we can do to improve health before pregnancy.


There is now a lot of evidence that the health of the mother and father around the time that their baby is conceived can affect the outcome of the pregnancy, such as miscarriage and low birth weight. It can also have longer term effects on the child’s health and development, even increasing their risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure later in life. Improving women’s and men’s health before pregnancy is also important for their own future health. Digital interventions are a promising avenue for intervention which we are actively exploring.

In many places where the standard of maternity care is generally high, the risks to mother and baby increasingly reflect the health of the women before she becomes pregnant. While planning a pregnancy may be regarded as a private matter, the evidence in favour of taking action before conception is compelling.  Some women are quite healthy, others have complex medical disorders, but all need to take some action before pregnancy, at least folic acid tablets.  Our ambition is to fill a health system gap in preconception care in order to improve maternal and child health, without over-medicalising this period in a woman’s life. 


We provided advice to Tommy's charity who have developed preconception advice for women (developing preconception advice for women.)

Professor Stephenson is providing advice to the charity Tommy's who are developing preconception advice for women.

Preconception Health
Project - Fertility awareness for Family building PHE Models of Preconception Care
Project - Fertility awareness for Family building
PhD Project - Exploring how to best support men through their fertility journey
Previous Project
PhD on Prevention of Neural tube defects in Ethnic Communities in the UK