If you’ve been trying to conceive for years without success, there must be something missing. Low sperm count, reproductive system problems, and other medical issues could explain why couples can’t get pregnant. If your doctor told you that you do not have these conditions, you should be happy.
Because you can take action without having to go through stressful and expensive procedures. However, people are different, so it can be easier for some to conceive and take longer for others. Preconception care and fertility awareness may help.
What is Preconception Care?
Preconception care, also known as pre-pregnancy care, is how a woman and her partner take care of their health before trying to have a baby. This involves the medical experts providing biomedical, behavioral, and social health interventions, which improve the health of a couple. It also seeks to decrease the environmental and behavioral factors that contribute to poor maternal and infant health.
Preconception care may vary, depending on an individual’s needs. Sometimes, doctors and other healthcare professionals will recommend a course or follow-up care.
Preconception care may include the following:
- Physical, medical, and psychological assessment
- Carrier screening and testing
- Counseling ( environmental or occupational exposures, healthy lifestyle, genetic disorders)
- Appropriate genetic conditions treatment
- Fertility course program
- Education ( vitamin supplementation, healthy lifestyle, preconception care course)
Preconception Care is Important When Preparing for a Pregnancy
The following are some of the benefits of preconception care, according to the World Health Organization:
1. Prevents Birth Defects
A healthy lifestyle and managing a couple’s health before getting pregnant can lead to having a healthy baby. This includes quitting smoking, drugs, alcohol, and taking medications. Taking supplements and vitamins like folic acid can also be a part of the process.
2. Prevents Neonatal Illness
According to studies, certain conditions, such as STIs (sexually transmitted infections), are linked to neonatal infection. That is why women and their partners are recommended to be screened before pregnancy. In case of positive results, preconception care resolves possible complications.
3. Lessens the Risk of Some Forms of Childhood Cancers
When a baby is still in its womb, the cancer risk is most severe. This is when you have the best chance to protect your child. It is always best to lead a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy. Avoiding radiation and toxins, regular exercise, getting required vaccines, and sticking to a healthy diet are some of the things you can do for your child.
4. Reduces Maternal and Child Mortality
Preconception care can contribute to improving the health outcomes of the mother and child, including death. If a pregnant woman is sick and left unexamined, struggles with chronic stress, and has limited access to healthy foods, it can result in complications or maternal and child death.
5. Prevents Complications During Pregnancy and Delivery
A part of preconception care’s objective is to improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy by managing risk factors and preventing disease. High blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes are all possible causes of pregnancy complications. In diabetes, it may involve a multidisciplinary team that includes a diabetologist, an internist, and a family physician who is an expert in diabetes.
The team also includes a nurse, dietitian, social worker, and obstetrician skilled in high-risk pregnancies management.
6. Prevents Preterm Birth, Stillbirths, and Low Birth Weight
Stillbirth is known as the death of a baby in the mother’s womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This may be due to placenta and umbilical cord problems, high blood pressure, birth defects, infections, and poor lifestyle choices. Preterm birth, on the other hand, is when a baby is delivered before 37 weeks.
Taking care of your body before pregnancy can improve your health and reduce the risk of stillbirths, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.
7. Prevents Stunting and Underweight
Stunting refers to the impairment of development and growth caused by repeated infections, poor nutrition, or inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Studies show that children of young mothers who have had multiple pregnancies are more likely to experience stunting.
Preconception care is a way to address these problems by encouraging reproductive planning and preventing unintended pregnancies.
Is Preconception Care Necessary for All Women?
Preconception care can benefit all women, regardless of whether or not they are planning on having a baby. Improving preconception health helps women who are trying to conceive and maintain their overall health. Keep in mind that health is one of the best things you can give yourself.
If you plan to learn all aspects of fertility and preconception health, there are online preconception programs that you can access anywhere you are. Just ensure to check courses that are credible and safe from reliable sources. You may learn more about online preconception care here.