Why is preconception care important?
Pregnancy health is linked to a woman’s overall health prior to conception. As a result, the most essential aspect of prenatal treatment is preconception care, with risk assessment as the core idea. Preconception care entails the early detection and elimination of modifiable hazards in order to minimize maternal-fetal illness and death. It is a critical meeting for addressing reproductive risk since it includes health promotion, risk assessment, and prevention.
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All women of reproductive age should be evaluated for pregnancy risk and informed about key preconception problems. Clinic visits for contraception or negative pregnancy tests, well-woman check ups/Pap screening, and follow-up examinations for women who have lost a pregnancy spontaneously are all ideal scenarios. Women with chronic medical conditions including diabetes, epilepsy, or heart disease benefit from having preconception issues addressed at regular doctor appointments.
Whether she is considering a pregnancy, every woman should consider her health. One explanation for this is that around half of all pregnancies are unintended. Preterm delivery and low birth weight kids are more likely in unplanned pregnancies. Another reason is that, despite significant advancements in medicine and prenatal care, approximately one out of every eight babies is delivered prematurely. Researchers are attempting to determine why preterm birth occurs and how to prevent it. Experts agree, however, that women should be healthy before getting pregnant. You may avoid problems that may harm you or your baby later by taking action on health conditions and hazards before becoming pregnant.
Why do we require preconception care?
The preconceptional environment is crucial for the development of the baby. Impaired fetal and infant development, poor birth outcomes, and long-term impacts on cardiovascular and metabolic illness can all result from poor mother health and diet before and throughout pregnancy.
Women and their partners who get PCC are more likely to have increased knowledge and demonstrate favorable health behaviors, according to a number of community intervention studies. Reduced smoking, increased folic acid use, and increased prenatal care attendance are examples of such behaviors. A comprehensive evaluation also discovered a beneficial influence on newborn outcomes, including fewer neonatal deaths and a higher likelihood of being breastfed. However, there is insufficient information about the sorts of PCC interventions that can enhance pregnancy outcomes in general.
Examples of preconception activities that influence outcomes
Preconception folic acid supplementation of 400–500 mg has been demonstrated to successfully prevent neural tube abnormalities such as spina bifida and anencephaly. According to a Cochrane analysis, periconceptional folic acid supplementation reduces the chance of developing neural tube abnormalities by 72 percent and the risk of recurrence by 68 percent when compared to no intervention, placebo, or micronutrient consumption without folic acid.
A research found that a 10% reduction in pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) might reduce stillbirth risk by 10%,10 and there is widespread agreement on the necessity of weight normalization before conception. Preconception and prenatal care are one of six important initiatives identified by the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity as having the ability to interrupt the cycle of noncommunicable illnesses.
Preconception blood glucose control has been shown to reduce the incidence of congenital malformations, miscarriage, birth weight abnormalities, and preterm birth in women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.11 Guerin et al found a 3% risk of congenital malformations for preconception glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels of 6%, which increased to a 6% risk with HbA1c levels of 9%.
Checklist for Preconception Care
- Weight – Body mass index measurement and relevant guidance
- Exercise -Exercise for 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes on most days is recommended.
- Pregnancy history
- Genetic screening
- Smoking/alcohol/illicit drugs
- Psychosocial aspects
- Medical conditions
- Contraception/family planning
- Breast examination
- Dental health check
- Screening for sexually transmissible infections and other infectious diseases Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella zoster
Pre-test counseling for the human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C.
Cervical examination It is not solely the responsibility of the expectant mother or her partner/family unit to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Individual life patterns, social support networks, and societal determinants of health all have a role in conceiving, delivering, and raising healthy children.