Health Behaviors Among Women Using Fertility Treatment

Holly Vo, Diana Cheng, Tina L Cheng, Kamila B. Mistry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective To describe associated perinatal behaviors among women using fertility treatment. Methods Data were obtained for 12,197 Maryland women who delivered live neonates from 2004 to 2011 and completed the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System survey postpartum. We conducted weighted descriptive and multivariable analyses. Results Among 1368 women using fertility treatments, 28.4 % did not take folic acid daily 1 month before pregnancy, 58.1 % consumed alcohol, 16.0 % were binge drinking, and 7.5 % smoked 3 months before pregnancy, and 12.9 % consumed alcohol and 3.7 % smoked during pregnancy. Additionally, among those who consumed alcohol and smoked before pregnancy, 36.0 % and 25.7 %, respectively, reported not receiving prenatal counseling about alcohol use and smoking. Lack of counseling for these women was higher than for women with unintended pregnancies who consumed alcohol (36.0 % vs. 26.3 %, P <.001) or smoked (25.7 % vs. 15.0 %, P <.001). Women using fertility treatments were less likely to have inadequate folic acid intake [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.14, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.10–0.18), consume alcohol (aOR 0.52, 95 % CI 0.40–0.69), and smoke (aOR 0.35, 95 % CI 0.21–0.59) before pregnancy, and no statistically significant differences were found during pregnancy for alcohol consumption (aOR 0.89, 95 % CI 0.59–1.33) or smoking (aOR 0.64, 95 % CI 0.28–1.45) compared to women with unintended pregnancies. Conclusion A significant proportion of women using fertility treatments were not practicing recommended perinatal behaviors or receiving prenatal counseling on preventable risk factors. Ongoing counseling before and during pregnancy may be especially effective for optimizing healthy behaviors among these motivated women undergoing often stressful treatments for fertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 29 2016


  • Fertility treatment
  • Perinatal behaviors
  • Pregnancy intention
  • Preventable behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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