The United States Public Health Service recommends that age appropriate preconception care be provided to all women of reproductive age. Preconception health care provides a woman the opportunity to assess her health status before pregnancy, make appropriate health promoting behavior changes and increase the potential for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Neural tube defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, congenital malformations and low birth weight are examples of adverse infant conditions that can be reduced through preconception health care interventions. Current research suggests that preconception health care according to United States Public Health Service recommendations is not practiced in the primary care setting. This researcher sought to elucidate the preconception health care interventions of nurse practitioners in the primary care setting. Nola Pender’s theory of health promotion provided the theoretical framework of this research. A descriptive survey was utilized to answer the research question. What are the preconception health care practices of nurse practitioners in the primary care setting? Data was obtained utilizing the researcher developed questionnaire. Women’s Health Care Survey. A convenience sample of nurse practitioners with certification in family, adult, women’s health and midwifery were surveyed. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The findings indicated that preconception care is not offered according to the guidelines set forth by the United States Public Health Service. The majority of nurse practitioners provided counseling about appropriate body weight, basics of a healthy diet, the importance of exercise and smoking cessation, however, interventions more directly related to a woman’s health during pregnancy were provided by less than half of the respondents. Less than one-third screened for drug abuse, discussed benefits of folic acid supplementation or counseled abstinence from alcohol usage. Determination of rubella immunity and education about health risks associated with emptying a cat litter box were rarely provided.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Terri Hamill

Second Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Third Advisor

Melinda Rush

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons