Prevention of noncommunicable diseases by interventions in the preconception period: A FIGO position paper for action by healthcare practitioners

Chandni Maria Jacob, Sarah Louise Killeen, Fionnuala M. McAuliffe, Judith Stephenson, Moshe Hod, Ivonne Diaz Yamal, Jaideep Malhotra, Edgar Mocanu, H. David McIntyre, Anne B. Kihara, Ronald C. Ma, Hema Divakar, Anil Kapur, Rui Ferriani, Ernest Ng, Laurie Henry, Zephne Van Der Spuy, Zev Rosenwaks, Mark A. Hanson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


With the increase in obesity prevalence among women of reproductive age globally, the risks of type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and other conditions are rising, with detrimental effects on maternal and newborn health. The period before pregnancy is increasingly recognized as crucial for addressing weight management and reducing malnutrition (both under- and overnutrition) in both parents to reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the mother as well as the passage of risk to her offspring. Healthcare practitioners, including obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, and general practitioners, have an important role to play in supporting women in planning a pregnancy and achieving healthy nutrition and weight before pregnancy. In this position paper, the FIGO Pregnancy Obesity and Nutrition Initiative provides an overview of the evidence for preconception clinical guidelines to reduce the risk of NCDs in mothers and their offspring. It encourages healthcare practitioners to initiate a dialogue on women’s health, nutrition, and weight management before conception. While acknowledging the fundamental importance of the wider social and environmental determinants of health, this paper focuses on a simple set of recommendations for clinical practice that can be used even in short consultations. The recommendations can be contextualized based on local cultural and dietary practices as part of a system-wide public health approach to influence the wider determinants as well as individual factors influencing preconception health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
European Union’s Horizon 2020 LifeCycle733206
Tommy’s Charity
UCL Public Policy and Policy Southampton
Royal College of General Practitioners
National Institute for Health and Care Research
British Heart Foundation
Public Health England
Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee14118718
National Institute for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre


    • FIGO
    • Noncommunicable diseases
    • Nutrition
    • Obesity
    • Perinatal health
    • Preconception
    • Pregnancy


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