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Background: Planning for pregnancy has been associated with reduced unwanted pregnancies and improved pregnancy outcomes. Despite the benefits of planned pregnancy, there are no guideline recommendations on routine counseling regarding pregnancy intention in primary care settings. The objective of the systematic review is to determine the effectiveness of incorporating questions of pregnancy intention into primary care.

Methods: A systematic search of the literature will be conducted for any studies comparing questions of pregnancy intention in primary care settings with no intervention or a control intervention. Types of studies will include randomized controlled trials, non-randomized trials, and observation studies. Participants will include patients of reproductive age presenting to primary health care settings. Interventions will include any assessment of fertility intention and follow-up care compared with a control group or no intervention. Outcomes will include quantitative data with rates for contraceptive uptake, and any pregnancy related outcome. Databases (Ovid MEDLINE; Pubmed; CINAHL; EMBASE; CDR/DARE databases; Web of Science; ISRCTN registry;; Cochrane Library) will be searched from the year 2000 to current. Screening of identified articles and data extraction will be conducted in duplicate by two independent reviewers. Methodological quality will be assessed using the Jadad scale. Methodological quality of observational and non-randomized trials will be assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Discrepancies will be resolved by consensus or by consulting a third author. Meta-analyses will be performed if appropriate.

Discussion: Determining the effect of including questions of pregnancy intention into primary care can provide evidence for the development of clinical practice guidelines and inform primary care providers if this simple and low-cost intervention should be routinely employed. This review will also identify any gaps in the current literature on this topic and provide direction for future research in this area of study.


This article was originally published in Systematic Reviews, available at DOI 10.1186/s13643-017-0412-z

© The Author(s). 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.



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