Project Preconception Care: The “Gabby” System

What is Preconception Care?

Preconception care is the effort to improve the health of young women before pregnancy in the hope of improving pregnancy outcomes. Simply put, healthier women have healthier babies. It is a broad collection of health topics, ranging from issues like family planning, specific medical conditions (e.g., diabetes), and preventive behaviors (e.g., immunization and folic acid supplementation).

The Gabby System

The “Gabby” System, developed by a research group at Boston University Medical Center in partnership with the Relational Agents Group from Northeastern University, is designed to help young African American women improve their Preconception Health status and thus improve their chances of having a healthy pregnancy and birth outcome in the future. The health information presented by the character, “Gabby,” is based on the clinical recommendations published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Preconception Health and Health Care: The Clinical Content of Preconception Care.

Early testing has indicated that Gabby can help young women reduce their number of preconception health risks. In addition, users have reported that the system is easy to use and that they like and trust Gabby.

Gabby Research Studies

Test the Gabby System

We are enrolling for a one-year national study to test the “Gabby” system online. We are currently looking for Black or African American women, ages 18-34, who have access to a computer with internet, phone, who speak English and are not currently pregnant. Participants will be be able to earn $50 or more in gift cards for completing different parts of the study. Please email to learn more about the study and how to sign up!

Focus Groups: Preconception Care for Men

Coming soon! We are looking for young African American men, ages 15-34, to participate in focus groups about men's health and how to be healthy in preparation for fatherhood. The sessions will take place in New Haven, Connecticut, and the greater New Haven area. Participants will receive a $20 gift card for their time. Please e-mail for more information.


Reaching Women Through Health Information Technology: The Gabby Preconception Care System
Paula Gardiner, Megan B. Hempstead, Lazlo Ring, Timothy Bickmore, Leanne Yinusa-Nyahkoon, Huong Tran, Michael Paasche-Orlow, Karla Damus, Brian Jack. American Journal of Health Promotion: January/February 2013, Vol. 27, No. sp3, pp. eS11-eS20. doi:


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