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Fam Pract. 2018 Mar 27;35(2):122-131. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmx086.

A systematic review of the effect of reproductive intention screening in primary care settings on reproductive health outcomes.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, City University of New York School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
Department of Family Practice, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Department of Community Health and Social Sciences, City University of New York School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.



No recommendations exist for routine reproductive intention screening in primary care. The objective of this systematic review is to assess the effect of reproductive intention screening in primary care on reproductive health outcomes (PROSPERO CRD42015019726).


We performed a systematic search in Ovid Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, CDR/DARE databases, Web of Science, ISRCTN registry, and Cochrane Library. Studies published in English between 2000 and 2017 and whose population was patients of reproductive age (15-49) were included. Studies without a comparison group were excluded. Two independent reviewers assessed eligibility, study quality and abstracted data.


Of 24 780 titles and/or abstracts reviewed, nine studies met inclusion criteria: four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and five observational studies. Two RCTs and one quasi-experimental cohort study showed a statistically significant increase in knowledge related to healthier pregnancy, such as the benefits of folic acid supplementation, and increased risk profiles for those with chronic conditions. Among studies measuring contraceptive use, only one cohort study showed any increase while the RCT and retrospective cohort did not show a statistically significant effect. Neither of the two RCTs that assessed the provision of contraception by primary care providers for those not desiring pregnancy found increased access to contraception, although one found increased documentation of contraception in electronic medical records. Acceptability of reproductive intention screening was measured in seven studies, and participant satisfaction was high in all seven studies.


More research is needed to determine whether routine inclusion of reproductive intention screening in primary care is warranted.

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