Objectives: Successful implementation of preconception and interconception care contributes to optimizing pregnancy outcomes. While interconception care to new mothers could potentially be provided by Preventive Child Health Care services, this care is currently not routinely available in the Netherlands. The purpose of this study was to identify facilitators and barriers for implementation of interconception care in Preventive Child Health Care services.
Methods: We organized four focus groups in which Preventive Child Health Care physicians and nurses, related health care professionals and policymakers participated. A semi-structured interview approach was used to guide the discussion. The transcribed discussions were analyzed.
Results: All four groups agreed that several facilitators are present, such as the unique position to reach women and the expertise in preventive health care. Identified barriers include unfamiliarity with interconception care among patients and health care providers, as well as lack of consensus about the concept of interconception care and how it should be organized. A broad educational campaign, local adaptation, and general agreement or a guideline for standard procedures were recognized as important for future implementation.
Conclusions for practice: This study identifies potentially important facilitators and barriers for the implementation of interconception care in Preventive Child Health Care services or comparable pediatric settings. These factors should be considered and strategies developed to achieve successful implementation of interconception care.