What Is Preconception Health Care?
Why Should I Be Thinking About Pregnancy Health When I'm Not Even Pregnant?
The time for a woman to be thinking about her pregnancy health is long before she even conceives. If there are areas that need attention or factors that could affect a fetus or infant, such as taking prescription drugs, drinking or smoking, then the time to address the issues is before conception, so that both the mother and baby can enjoy a greater measure of health.
Preconception health care is designed for women to take advantage of before pregnancy in order to manage conditions and behaviors which may be a risk for mother, baby or both. Many areas are covered under the heading of preconception care, and all of them are important since each can make a huge difference in the well-being of both mother and baby.
Some Things Preconception Care Addresses:
Folic acid supplements can be administered in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.
Congenital Rubella Syndrome is addressed with Rubella vaccinations.
Existing health conditions are detected and treated in order to prevent complications in the pregnancy and birth for the mother, and to reduce the risk of birth defects in the baby. Such diseases as diabetes, hypothyroidism, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, PKU, hypertension, blood diseases, eating disorders and STDs can be screened for and treated before conception.
A review of all medications the mother has been taking that can cause problems for the fetus ensures the mother has switched medications where possible to protect the baby and has refrained from taking others that are dangerous to an unborn baby.
Pregnancy history is reviewed and questions regarding former pregnancies are asked. Aid, if necessary, to stop smoking is provided to reduce the chances of low birth weight in the baby. Alcohol issues are addressed to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other complications associated with alcohol and pregnancy.
Counseling is provided to avoid unplanned pregnancies, promote healthy lifestyle-such as weight management, nutrition, exercise, oral health-and to help a woman who may be dealing with substance abuse. The counseling also helps women and couples become educated about genetic risks, mental health and domestic issues which could lead to violence.
Controlling Health Issues Today Means A Healthier Tomorrow For Mother & Baby
By managing current health issues and being proactive before pregnancy, future problems can more readily be avoided. Each woman is an individual and, as such, should receive individualized service and treatment which enables her and her partner to have care and treatment beforehand and afterward as well.
This type of preconception health care is a public service and designed to help women who may not be well advised on the risks and challenges facing pregnancy. It is not, however, limited to such women. All women who are planning to become pregnant should avail themselves of all of the tools they can to ensure they are in peak health. All babies deserve a healthy life and a mother who has taken care of her health before conception is the best protection for a baby.