Preconception Health and Disability Status Among Women of Reproductive Age Participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2013-2018

Andrea L. Deierlein, Jaqueline Litvak, Cheryl R. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Preconception health is a critical determinant of health outcomes for women and their offspring. Given higher rates of prenatal and postpartum complications among women with disabilities, it is important to investigate a range of preconception health indicators in this population. Materials and Methods: Data were from women of reproductive age (18-44 years) who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2013-2018. Disability was self-reported as serious difficulty hearing, seeing, concentrating, walking, dressing, and/or running errands due to physical, mental, or emotional conditions. Preconception health indicators were adapted from those developed by the Core State Preconception Health Indicators Working Group. Multivariable Poisson regression estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) and 95% confidence intervals of preconception health indicators among women with disabilities compared with those without disabilities. Results: Of 4055 women, 601 (15%, weighted) reported having any disabilities, and of these women, 220 (6%) reported having 2 or more types of disabilities. Women with any disabilities were more likely to have suboptimal preconception health indicators compared with women without disabilities, including low education and household income, no recent dental visit, difficulty getting pregnant, current smoking, binge drinking, drug use, obesity, no multivitamin use, physical inactivity, long sleep durations, asthma, hypertension, and sexually transmitted infections (aPRs from 1.1 to 2.0). The greatest disparities between women with and without disabilities were for indicators of self-rated poor or fair general health, depression, and diabetes, with aPRs ranging from 2.4 to 3.8. Conclusions: Disparities in preconception health indicators are modifiable and may be addressed through adequate access to health care, interventions targeting lifestyle and health behaviors, and education and training for all health practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1320-1333
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • disability
  • disparity
  • preconception health
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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