The aim of preconception care is to help a woman achieve a state of good reproductive health prior to conception. Being in good preconception health is the best way for a woman, and a man, to ensure a healthy pregnancy with a successful outcome. Preconception care targets risk factors and conditions that might affect a woman, her future fertility, or her pregnancy, should she become pregnant. No matter whether you've already had a baby or have never been pregnant before, during your childbearing years, you should be in good reproductive health. This is according to the latest recommendations of the CDC.
Preconception care involves the examination of lifestyle and health factors like alcohol consumption and the use of prescription drugs and weighs them in terms of their risk to a possible fetus or mother-to-be. The hope is that by promoting good preconception health before a woman becomes pregnant, she and any fetus that may be produced will have the safest possible environment, best medical care available, and a sturdy support system. A woman receiving preconception care will also learn about healthy lifestyle habits in the workplace and at home. In this manner, behaviors and conditions that might pose a risk to a woman or her baby are eliminated before they become problematic.
Part and parcel of preconception care is counseling. Women are taught to avoid substances and environments that might harm their health or that of a future fetus. They learn about how they can avoid substance abuse. Counseling also serves to teach women and their partners about a variety of issues which may affect a future pregnancy such as domestic violence, mental health problems, and genetic risk factors.
In terms of managing existing health issues, preconception care tackles these problems before they can harm fertility, a mom's health, or a future pregnancy. Because every woman's health status is individual, preconception care is by necessity tailored to the needs of each woman. To that end, women and their partners are helped to reduce any possible risks and encouraged toward the goal of receiving such care on an ongoing basis.
The CDC has made preconception care an issue at this time because despite all of the medical advances in the field of reproductive medicine and in prenatal care, the birth outcomes in the United States are worse than in any other developed country. Too many babies have been born early or suffer from low birth weights. Preconception care is not a new idea, but rather one that has reached a state of urgency. In this section, we provide up-to-date information on what you can do to ensure you are in the best possible preconception health.
Also check out our articles on sperm health, the importance of folic acid, genetic counseling, and what happens to your fertility when you stop taking birth control pills. Also discover the importance of preconception exercise and why women with diabetes need to get their blood sugar under control before pregnancy.