Health Before Pregnancy

"Preconception"-The Latest Word In Pregnancy Jargon

When is the best time to think about your pregnancy? If you answered, "Before I conceive," you're among the ranks of women who are thinking things through before rather than after the fact. The latest word in new recommendations concerning pregnancy and birth is called preconception, and it is one of the most important times for prenatal care-not just for those planning on getting pregnant-but for any woman who could conceive.

There Are Great Benefits To Pre-Pregnancy Health Care

It almost goes without saying that a woman who is healthy and has taken proper care of herself will likely have a much better pregnancy with fewer concerns than a woman who has not done so. For the woman who hasn't spent the time on herself, should she become pregnant, it may be too late to ensure both she and her baby will be as healthy as possible.

As an example, obesity can cause gestational diabetes in a pregnant woman, which can then in turn cause birth defects in her baby. However, cutting calories during pregnancy is not the best idea. By keeping her weight in check, a woman not only has a better quality of life, even without being pregnant, she also helps herself and her baby to be healthier.

If a woman is taking certain drugs to treat specific chronic diseases, like depression, the drugs may have a long-term effect upon the pregnancy and baby. The time to check whether there are ramifications of the drugs would be before conception in order to be the safest. Obviously, if the pregnancy is a surprise, then the sooner these issues are addressed, the better.

The Need For Education About The Value Of Preconception Health And Related Issues

Today there is a massive push to educate women and all facets of health care providers, not just reproduction specialists, on the need and value of preconception health. Preconception care is not only about the baby, it takes the mother's health into much greater perspective, helping the woman achieve good health before pregnancy. Many specialists who are treating a female patient for a specific disease seem to miss the concept that she may become pregnant and as a result, they fail to take precautions.

A less obvious but equally important thing to consider before conception is the need for insurance. Some women do not have insurance until they become pregnant and as a consequence, chronic health issues go untreated before pregnancy. As a result, many women enter pregnancy with health problems that exacerbate during the pregnancy and could endanger the baby. Many women are reluctant to listen to pregnancy-related health messages if they are not actively seeking to become pregnant and this fact alone makes it very challenging to pass along the notion of better health prior to pregnancy.

It's A Hard Sell

The idea of preconception care has to be packaged in the concept of a health package for women who want to be well. Many women, even if sexually active and not using any form of birth control, don't think they'll become pregnant. By offering free pregnancy testing to these women, there is a better chance of getting them into a wellness program. Doing so can be the best way to help ensure a healthy mother and baby.


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