Getting Ready For Pregnancy
The aim of preconception care is to help women achieve their best possible reproductive health prior to conception. A woman who starts her pregnancy in peak health is doing all she can to ensure a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy with a successful pregnancy outcome.
Eliminating Risks During Pregnancy
Preconception care serves to identify and eliminate the risks that could impact on a woman's health during her fertile years. This lessens the possibility that such risks could endanger a woman's future fertility or harm a fetus, should she choose to conceive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that every woman in her fertile years take advantage of preconception care. It makes no difference whether you've already had children or plan to remain childless: you should care for your reproductive system during your childbearing years.
At your preconception care visits, your doctor will be examining your lifestyle to spot potential risks to your reproductive health. Examples of reproductive health risks include the use of prescription drugs that are contraindicated for women who might conceive; alcohol consumption; and smoking cigarettes.
Too often, women start to change to a healthier lifestyle only after they learned they have conceived. But preconception care means your body is already able to provide a safe haven for any fetus that might be conceived. You will receive advice about how you can improve your home and work environments to make them safe for a woman in her childbearing years. By being prepared for every eventuality, you get rid of the risks before they can pose problems.
An important part of your preconception care is counseling. You will learn how to avoid substances that might be harmful to your health or to that of a developing fetus. You'll also receive information on how to avoid developing addictions to cigarettes, alcohol, or recreational drugs. In addition to these issues, you'll be taught to spot issues that might affect a pregnancy such as mental illnesses, domestic violence and genetic risks.
Another benefit to preconception care is that it addresses health issues you may already have before they can pose a threat to your health, your fertility, or to a future pregnancy. Every woman comes with her own medical history and preconception care is designed to address the individual woman's specific health needs. Couples are encouraged to avail themselves of preconception care and to make sure they follow the recommendations of the care giver.