Preconception care is an important part of the pregnancy planning process, especially for women and men of reproductive age. Making smart choices regarding your health and behavior now, prior to conception, can make a positive difference in the health of your baby later.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “preconception care is a set of interventions that identify and modify biomedical, behavioral, and social risks to a woman’s health and future pregnancies.” Preconception healthcare is individualized for each potential mother, and involves analyzing factors that might affect a fetus or infant, including a woman’s current health, prescribed drugs, and alcohol intake.
Good preconception care includes both prevention and management—reducing risks and maintaining active, ongoing care. It includes managing current health conditions and emphasizing health issues that require action before conception or very early in pregnancy. The key to good preconception health, according to the CDC, is to combine the best medical care, healthy behaviors, strong support, and safe environments at home and at work.
A woman experiencing difficulty in either achieving a pregnancy or maintaining a viable gestation is often advised to obtain preconception counseling. Such counseling can provide the information needed to establish a diagnosis and offer clinical insights and recommendations on improving health during the preconception period.