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“People still want a face and that’s where we can fill in”: A qualitative study of community pharmacists’ experiences of providing healthcare advice about preconception and pregnancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Sergio A. Silverio, Pujan Karki, Shivali Lakhani, Marsha Alter, John Weinman, Angela Flynn

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Early online date6 Dec 2022
Accepted/In press9 Nov 2022
E-pub ahead of print6 Dec 2022


King's Authors


Objectives: This study aimed to explore community pharmacists’ practices and attitudes towards provision of healthcare advice regarding preconception and pregnancy.

Methods: A qualitative study utilising focus groups was conducted virtually with community pharmacists around urban areas of London in October 2021. A topic guide was utilised to cover pharmacy practice, barriers, and confidence in counselling women, education and training, and thoughts on how to improve preconception and pregnancy health services. Focus groups were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Key findings: Eleven community pharmacists participated. Three themes were identified: ‘Community Driven Needs’; ‘Needs of Community Pharmacists’; ‘Shared Needs & Understanding’ which were related through a central organising concept of ‘Unmet Needs in Pharmacy-led Preconception & Pregnancy Care’. Community pharmacists are frequently consulted by women before and during pregnancy, however, a discord was uncovered between current pharmacy practice and the needs of the community. A clear need was identified for the incorporation of risk minimisation counselling focusing on smoking, alcohol intake, and drug use. Education and organisational factors were reported as challenges to providing advice.

Conclusions: Community pharmacists can play a pivotal role in providing information and support to women before and during pregnancy. Our findings suggest integration of community pharmacy led structured counselling may be a useful public health strategy to optimise pregnancy health. Our work highlights educational and organisational barriers which hinder the ability of pharmacists to promote preconception and pregnancy health. These must be addressed, and we provide recommendations for change to both policy and practice

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